In light of a corruption case that led to the indictment of one of his ministers and his chief of staff, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa ended up submitting his resignation on Tuesday. ” The duties of the Prime Minister are not compatible with any doubt of my integrity. In these circumstances, I submitted my resignation to the President of the Republic (Conservative Editorial Board Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa) “, he told the press.
It is now up to the head of state to accept this resignation. ” The future will depend on the president’s decisions », launched Antonio Costa, one of the rare socialists – on borrowed time – at the head of a European government.
He sprayed his relatives and ministers
The case that affected the Portuguese Prime Minister relates, according to the prosecution, to suspicions of “ Embezzlement, positive and negative corruption of political office holders and influence peddling » Regarding the allocation of licenses for lithium exploration and hydrogen production. “During the investigation” The suspects also mentioned the name and authority of the Prime Minister “, the prosecutor added Tuesday in a press release.
“He is suspected of interfering himself.” To cancel the blocking procedures “In the context of this case, Antonio Costa will” Subject of investigation » Always independent, according to the prosecution. But Antonio Costa confirmed during his speech to the press that “ surprised “By opening this investigation.
Investigators are more specifically interested in granting licenses.” Lithium mine exploration “In northern Portugal, in” Hydrogen energy production project ” And ” Data center construction project from Start Campus » At the Sense site, south of Lisbon. On Tuesday morning, searches were conducted at the official residence of the Prime Minister and in a number of homes, ministries and law offices.
Taking into account the elements collected by the investigators, “ Risk of escape and continued criminal activity “Until justice is issued” Arrest orders » Against the Chief of Staff of Prime Minister Costa, the Mayor of Sines and two directors of the “Start Campus”. Portuguese Infrastructure Minister João Galamba has been charged, as has the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Environmental Protection Agency (APA).
Her popularity has been eroded by corruption issues
After his huge electoral victory on January 30, 2022, which gave him the absolute majority that was supposed to guarantee the stability of his government, Antonio Costa saw his popularity eroded by repeated scandals. The most notable of these is “TAP Gateway”, named after the public airline that forced more than a dozen ministers and ministers of state to leave their posts over the issue.
The scandal was exposed almost a year ago after it was revealed that a severance package of €500,000 had been paid to the director of TAP, who a few months later was appointed Minister of the Exchequer.
António Cousto, the 62-year-old former mayor of Lisbon and a lawyer of Indian origin, came to power in 2015 with unprecedented support from the radical left and communists, after losing the elections. This alliance allowed him to retain a first term of four years, against a backdrop of favorable conditions for ending the austerity measures implemented by the right, in exchange for an international rescue plan granted in 2011.
António Costa then went on to clean up public accounts to record the first budget surplus in Portugal’s modern history. Then, after winning the legislative elections in October 2019 without an absolute majority, Antonio Costa failed to maintain his alliance with the left, forcing him to rule with a minority, before his former partners ended up abandoning him completely following the failure of negotiations over the 2022 budget.
Finally, Antonio Costa returned his mandate to the arena in January 2022, allowing him to win an absolute majority against all odds, until corruption issues gradually overtook him.