“He leaves. And goes to the voters,” headlines i after the resignation of Portuguese PM José Sócrates, whose austerity plan was rejected by parliament on 23 March. The Lisbon daily notes, however, that President Anibal Cavaco Silva will only formally accept the resignation after the European summit of 24/25 March. As a consequence, “Sócrates will appear today at the European Council with a plan rejected by his country.” Sócrates meanwhile declared his candidacy for the elections scheduled for June. According to Público, Portugal must now raise 8.3 billion euros in the money markets. “Without a government, the country will find no investors and consequently will have to seek external help”. To add to this succession of setbacks, the European Council’s decision to postpone until June discussions about a European rescue fund means “external aid must necessarily come from the IMF, as was the case for Greece and Ireland,” according to Diário de Notícias. “And with measures perhaps more harsh and restrictive to the Portuguese than the ones contained in PEC IV [the rejected austerity plan]”.