Finance minister who negotiated Portugal’s bailout plan resigns

City A.M. Reporter
PORTUGAL’S finance minister Vitor Gaspar, the architect of the country's €78bn (£67bn) bailout plan, has resigned and will be replaced by the country’s treasury secretary, the president’s office said yesterday.

Gaspar has been widely blamed by the Portuguese for austerity plans during a time of sharp decline for the country’s economy.

Still, his resignation came as a surprise even though he has periodically been criticised by the junior partner in the country’s centre-right coalition government.

He will be replaced by Treasury Secretary Maria Luis de Albuquerque.

Gaspar’s departure comes shortly before the next review of the country’s bailout by its creditors, the EU and IMF, to start on 15 July.

At the last review, Portugal won an easing of tough budget goals and Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has suggested he may request a fresh relaxation for next year if the economic outlook worsens.

Portugal’s economy entered its third year of recession in 2013 and unemployment is at record highs following the biggest tax hike in living memory aimed at raising revenues to plug the budget deficit.