Pact reached to govern Lisbon town hall

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The Socialist Party (PS) and Left Bloc (BE) have reached an agreement to govern Lisbon town hall, the Lusa Portuguese News Agency reported on Thursday.

Ricardo Robles of the BE will join an executive board led by Fernando Medina of the PS. Robles will take the portfolio for Education, Health, Social Rights and Citizenship.
Medina won the Lisbon local election on Oct. 1 with 42 percent of the vote. This was enough to give the PS 8 of 17 seats in the Municipal Chamber, 1 short of a majority.

The BE won 1 seat and a pact between the two parties had been expected. But it took some negotiating.

The two parties agreed policies to increase nursery places, open more health centers and improve public transport.

But the BE was more demanding in regards to affordable housing. A huge influx of tourists in recent years has pushed rents up across the city and forced residents out of historic neighborhoods. The BE had campaigned to tackle the issue.

The BE’s pact with the PS thus promises to limit the number of hotels per neighborhood and be more robust in registering properties for holiday rentals.

There will also be a public program to provide 3,000 homes at “affordable rents” and 25 percent of all new-build and renovated homes will be subjected to price controls.

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