The Portuguese public expressed their dissatisfaction of the government’s austerity measures by taking government control out of the hands of Prime Minister Jose Socrates and his Socialist Party. The centre-right Social Democrats (PSD) have secured victory in the country’s general election on Sunday with the Socialists already conceding defeat.

With 99 percent of the poll ballots accounted for, the PSD garnered almost 39 percent of the vote compared to 28 percent by the Socialists. Coming in third is the conservative CDS-PP which held 12 percent of the entire vote. The PSD is expected to finalize a coalition tie-up with the CDS-PP to form a coalition government. This means that opposition head Pedro Passo Coelho will assume the role as the country’s new prime minister.

Coelho, however, has allayed fears that his new government will not be honoring Portugal’s commitments as a result of the country’s $114 billion rescue package which the outgoing administration of Prime Minister Jose Socrates signed with the EU. The bailout plan caused Portugal to implement a series of really demanding spending cuts.

During his speech pronouncing his party’s victory, Coelho said his administration will do “everything possible” to keep the struggling Euro zone country’s bailout commitments and will make policies that will “not to be a burden” to Lisbon’s international lenders. He continued, “I want to guarantee to those who are watching us from abroad that Portugal does not intend to be a burden for the future to other countries that lent us the means that we needed today to face up to our responsibilities.”

The multi-billion dollar bailout entails conditions that include tax increases, state pensions and salaries freeze, and decrease in unemployment benefits and their duration. Portugal’s unemployment now stands at more than 12 percent and the overall economy is expected to continue its contraction at least until next year.

Coelho this week suggested to the voting public that he was the preferred candidate for most of the donors of the rescue package. On the other hand, Prime Minister Socrates hit Coelho’s seemingly lack of experience in government service as well as his party’s pursuance of a “radical right-wing agenda.”

Last March, Socrates resigned as prime minister which led for the early elections to be declared when members of the opposition in Lisbon’s parliament rejected his fourth austerity plan by which Socrates criticized the apparent “obstruction” as “intolerable.” He later accepted to act as caretaker prime minister.

For his part, Coelho criticized Socrates’ austerity plan for lacking of finer points that would spur economic growth. He added that the plan will be imposed with “unacceptable sacrifices” to most segments of the Portuguese society.