Privatisation halted

LISBON: Portugal’s new left-wing, anti-austerity government announced late Friday it was moving to halt the privatisation of transport systems in Lisbon and Porto, a measure introduced by its right-wing predecessor. The government will ask the Court of Auditors to ‘suspend the authorisation approval’ which would have green-lit the privatisation, it said in a statement carried by the Portuguese news agency Lusa. The previous right-wing government decided in September to hand the management of Lisbon’s public transport over to the Spanish group Avanza, while northern city of Porto would see its system managed by the Spanish Alsa and French Transdev. But in November a leftist alliance led by Socialist Party toppled right-wing coalition and forced PM Pedro Passos Coelho to resign.