Portugal calls for early elections after Antonio Costa’s resignation

Portugal calls for early elections after Antonio Costa’s resignation

Published November 10, 2023 at 12:34 pm.Updated November 10, 2023 at 2:42 p.m.

Portugal goes to the polls on March 10. This was announced by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Thursday evening, after long deliberations with the Constitutional Council. This decision comes in the wake of the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who is involved in a corruption scandal linked to the awarding of contracts to develop renewable energies.

Therefore, the Head of State chose a slow transfer of power that would allow the 2024 Finance Law to be approved on November 29, before Parliament was dissolved. He stressed that this would ensure “the necessary economic and social stability for the country.” The current Prime Minister should remain in office until his successor takes office.

After thinking for a while about directly appointing a new Prime Minister to succeed Antonio Costa without going to the ballot boxes, he preferred to set a date for dissolving the Assembly and holding new legislative elections, in order to avoid, as he says, reaching a fragile solution that would exacerbate the problem. . Executive power was weakened. According to him, even if the Socialist Party enjoyed the absolute majority in parliamentary seats, which it obtained in the 2022 legislative elections, the situation is now radically different for the Socialists, whose electoral momentum was carried by the strong personality of Antonio Costa.

Relaunch the country

During his eight years in power, he coordinated Portugal’s recovery by instilling optimism and restoring consumer and investor confidence. The country is expected to end 2023 with growth of 2.2% and a budget surplus of 0.8%, which is unique in Europe. It has rebounded thanks to the growth of tourism and major projects.

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The country has particularly emerged in the field of renewable energies and activities related to the energy transition. It is precisely in this sector that the violations revealed by the current judicial investigation occur. Analysts fear that the country’s reputation will be damaged.

Nested transformation

He explained that in this context, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa decided to outline the outlines of a gradual transition, in order to “clearly define the path to confront the unexpected vacuum that surprised the Portuguese after eight years of the Antonio Costa government.”

In passing, this distinguished conservative known for his independent spirit praised the work of his Socialist Prime Minister, with whom he maintained good relations for years that transcended their ideological differences. However, the two men have parted ways in recent months over the “TAPgate” issue, irregularities in the management of the airline that was nationalized in 2021 to avoid bankruptcy.

These four months before the elections will allow parties to prepare their nominations. The Socialists are currently the leading force in the country, but they were surprised by Costa’s exit. The latter submitted his sudden resignation on November 7, after the Public Prosecution announced the opening of an investigation into his personal involvement in the exploitation of influence orchestrated by those close to him.

According to the prosecutor, his name appeared in intercepted conversations between the suspects. He is suspected of having helped open contract award procedures, around four industrial projects linked to a data storage centre, lithium mines and green hydrogen production.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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