LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portuguese Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar has quit the bailed-out country's government.

The Portuguese president's office announced Gaspar's resignation Monday and said he will be replaced by Secretary of State for the Treasury Maria Luis Albuquerque.

Gaspar was a key member of the government as it struggles to repair its finances after needing a 78 billion euros ($102 billion) rescue two years ago. He was an economist who previously worked at the European Central Bank and had no political career before joining the government following its election in June 2011.

The government is under fierce pressure to move away from the austerity policies adopted by Gaspar as the country endures what is expected to be a third straight year of recession and a jobless rate of 17.6 percent.

 

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