BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Portugal's former Treasury Secretary Maria Luis de Albuquerque has been sworn in as the country's new finance minister. Albuquerque replaced Vitor Gaspar, who handed in his resignation in a row over the country’s bailout reforms on Monday.
Albuquerque helped Gaspar engineer Portugal’s partial return to bond market earlier this year. Albuquerque also took part in negotiations with creditors, including one on a seven-year extension of the rescue loan repayment schedule.
She recently led a complex process to renegotiate high-risk contracts sold to Portuguese state firms by banks which had amounted to potential losses of around 3 billion euro.
Lisbon hopes to regain full market access by mid-2014 when the bailout ends. Failure to do so may require a new rescue package and yet more austerity.
Portugal entered its third year of recession in 2013 under the weight of deeply unpopular austerity. Unemployment in the country is at record highs of nearly 18 percent.