Portugal’s anti-austerity govt ‘like a pyromaniac’: critic

LISBON, Portugal – The leader of Portugal’s previous centre-right government says the current left-of-centre administration is behaving “like a pyromaniac” by scrapping austerity and embarking on new spending while the country remains deep in debt.

Pedros Passos Coelho, leader of the main opposition Social Democratic Party, says the Socialist government “is pouring gasoline on the fire instead of protecting the Portuguese.” He said Monday his party would vote against the government’s spending plans in Parliament.

The Socialist government that took office last November is reversing some cutbacks introduced after Portugal needed a 78 billion-euro ($86 billion) bailout in 2011. It is restoring government workers’ pay that was reduced, cutting taxes for low-income families, increasing the lowest pensions, and bringing back four public holidays.

European officials are also concerned about Portugal’s new path.