Portuguese socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who has been in power since 2015, resigned on November 7. Corruption, phone tapping, etc. However, as soon as he resigned, we realized that the phone taps belonged to another Costa and, what is more, another minister…
franceinfo: We actually discovered that these wiretaps were not coming from the Prime Minister, and it was not the right Costa…
Ana Navarro Pedro: This is exactly it. Portugal is completely upset. On 7 November, the Prime Minister’s Office, his official residence, was searched, and shortly afterwards the Prime Minister announced: “Well, in the circumstances, I’m obviously going to resign.”. The country is entering a period of uncertainty. A week later, the judicial system, after saying: Yes, we have a phone tap that points to his involvement, announced a week later: “Actually, we got the name wrong, it wasn’t him, it was the Minister of Economy, who is also called Costa.”.
It is still dangerous for a minister, the prime minister’s advisor and chief of staff, to be involved in a corruption case, especially influence peddling. Moreover, the name of these scandals is called the “influencer case” because in reality they were using influence peddling to obtain grants for the exploitation of lithium mines and others.
What really is the real scandal in Portugal?
Yes, that is the highlight of this investigation, among other things, data center, green hydrogen production, but we see that there is nothing really against the Prime Minister. The investigation will tell us now. But justice itself has already been called into question. Was it just negligence, stupidity, or something worse?
What will happen to Antonio Costa after there has been a lot of talk about him as the future president of the European Union?
He was scheduled to succeed Charles Michel at the head of the European Council. He now believes that his future is in the hands of Portuguese justice. You will need to bleach it completely. Does the schedule allow for this? The fact remains that Antonio Costa was in Germany this week, visiting a small town where the Portuguese Socialist Party, to which he belongs, was created during the dictatorship. It seems that the German Social Democratic Party still believes that it is possible to have a European future.
And his Portuguese future?
For Portugal, it’s over. The President of the Republic had a choice between appointing another prime minister or calling for early elections. Perhaps the first option is the most logical, as this government was elected at the beginning of 2022, by an absolute majority, and the stability of the country must prevail, especially as we reach 2024, 50 years of democracy in Portugal.
However, the president chose the second hypothesis, which was to demand early elections. And there he is He has a turbulent game. This president, who is a right-wing president and therefore lives in Portugal, has never abandoned the idea of bringing his right-wing conservative camp back into Portuguese politics.
So these polls, at the time of dissolution, gave a huge advantage to his camp, to his party, the Social Democratic Party. However, now, after about two weeks, we see that the country will indeed enter a state of tremendous instability. The one who can stand out from the game is the far-right populist party.
The president himself, who believes that his party will not be able to govern alone, seems to have not ruled out an alliance between the right and the far right, and (has not yet confirmed) his arrival to power in March 2024, after early elections.
So the country will go into a period of instability, even though Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate in economics, just said that what Antonio Costa – who has a lot of flaws and who probably should have run this government differently – Paul Krugman said What this government has done is by reducing the very severe austerity policy of its right-wing predecessors, while maintaining a certain budgetary stability demanded by Brussels, by giving a little oxygen to the Portuguese economy, by allowing pensions to be increased and the minimum wage to have increased. . by 72% under his government, and although this is a truly typical case;
Especially since Portugal, at the same time, has repaid its debts in advance, it continues to repay its external debts in advance. So Paul Krugman says:“It’s an exemplary case worthy of study. It’s an absolute mystery.”
Can we add that a former prime minister published his memoirs, and the President of the Republic is the one who has a good suit made by this former prime minister?
It’s an absolute coincidence, because the book came out this week, and we obviously couldn’t have predicted it. But former Prime Minister Francisco Pinto Balsimao says in his memoirs about the current President of the Republic, whom he met many times. It is clear – they are from the same party and even ruled together – that he describes him as a traitorous scorpion. He talks about his stupidity, his stabbing in the back, and his pathological need to Being in the spotlight all the time…