Portugal's new anti-austerity government makes more spending cuts in battle to lower deficit

LISBON, Portugal – Portugal’s new anti-austerity Socialist government has hit a snag: it needs to introduce more cutbacks to keep its pledge of getting the budget deficit lower than 3 per cent this year, as demanded by its eurozone partners and creditors.

Finance Minister Mario Centeno said after a Cabinet meeting Thursday the government is imposing a freeze on non-urgent spending through the end of the year and cutting 46 million euros ($50 million) in cash available for some departments.

The Socialists took power two weeks ago, heading an anti-austerity alliance that included the Communist Party and radical Left Bloc to unseat a centre-right government. The Socialists have vowed to abide by eurozone debt-reduction rules while also easing austerity — a balancing act the government’s critics doubt it will be able to pull off.