Antonio Costa resigns

Portugal’s PM resigns amid controversy

Antonio Costa

LISBON, Nov 7 (Reuters) – Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa resigned yesterday evening amid an investigation into alleged irregularities committed by his majority Socialist administration in handling lithium mining and hydrogen projects in the country.

Costa announced the decision in a televised statement after meeting President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. He said his conscience was clear, but he would not stand as a candidate for premiership again.

Costa submitted his resignation yesterday after police raided his official residence and the country’s attorney general confirmed he was being investigated under a corruption probe. 

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Blog post from earlier this year

During a televised news conference, Costa said he was “surprised” to learn that “a criminal case has already been or will be initiated against me,” and insisted he’d had nothing to do with any “illicit or reprehensible act.”

Costa: charges are “incompatible with the dignity of the office”

Costa said the gravity of the charges driving this investigation are “incompatible with the dignity of the office of prime minister,” making it impossible for him to continue in the post. He said he was willing to remain in office until a successor was named, but clarified he would not put his name forward as a candidate for higher office. His resignation marked “the end of a chapter” in his life, he said.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will now have to decide whether to dissolve parliament and call new elections, or choose a new prime minister from Costa’s Socialist Party. The office of the presidency confirmed that party leaders will be summoned to meet today, with the Council of State, an advisory body to the president, expected to meet Thursday.

Lithium exploration schemes

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Lithium mining in northern Portugal

The prime minister’s resignation came hours after Portugal’s national police carried out searches of Costa’s residence and several government ministry buildings. The sweeps are part of a corruption probe linked to lithium exploration schemes in the north of the country as well as a green hydrogen mega-project in Sines. 

Costa’s chief of staff, Vítor Escária, was also detained, the attorney general said earlier on Tuesday. Authorities also confirmed that Minister of Infrastructure João Galamba and Portuguese Environment Agency head Nuno Lacasta had been indicted. 

Costa’s socialist government has enthusiastically backed schemes to extract lithium in different areas of Portugal as part of the EU’s wider drive to secure critical raw materials, but those projects have been mired in controversy due to the low quality of the material to be extracted and the disproportionate environmental damage expected.

22 thoughts on “Antonio Costa resigns”

  1. This is a good lesson to any leader that runs any other country that thinks that is above of the law and order and still thinks can get away with corruption and lies in the end they end up caught by the law . And comparing Portugal with UK the way Portugal is dealing with with this type of situation it is a good example how this things should be sorted and not leaving the culprits continuing still in charge and getting away with everything . Look what happen to Boris and is entourage of rich friends that still around receiving the taxpayers money to using and abusing for subside their expensive luxury lifestyle and no one is called to Justice and what they are doing is insult and disrespect that same justice thinking that are above of law and order and I can get away with everything .No one is above of the law and order and eventually one day they will be caught and brought to the justice .

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    • Sadly, even when politicians are brought to justice it doesn’t mean the end of their careers. Just look at America. The more prosecutions Trump faces, the more popular he becomes! Total madness.

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      • That’s because the people know he’s done nothing wrong but being chased by the Democrat/Communist party , same methods that are in place in China . SHAM !

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  2. Talking of Boris what comed out in the media about the time of Covid, Half the cabinet though the old should accept the end of their lives. The Tories should be ashamed of themself. The old age pensioners build Britain up to what it is today. All I can say REPECT RESPECT the old. I been brought up to respect them. Have the world forgoten They be old one day. Then they slag off the other parties as if they was so perfect.

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    • Neither I understand how it is possible that the Uk people put up with so much what did happen and there is still some people that still support that Boris and is entourage.

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      • Sadly there are millions of brainwashed little Englanders who unquestioningly vote conservative no matter who is standing. You could put up a pig or a shop dummy as the Tory candidate and provided it had a blue rosette pinned on it some people would vote for it. Portugal may not be perfect but at least the idea of politicians resigning if accused of impropriety still applies here in the UK it takes a can opener or a minimum of 10% of constituents to say they want their MP replaced before anyone is forced out.

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        • Very true. Unfortunately I live in one such area. Local voters got rid of the Tory majority from the District Council some years ago, now, and while it has been far from perfect as a hung Council, it is so much better without the collective vested, party interests that reigned then.

          The County Council, though, is a different matter. The Tories have an overwhelming majority, so Councillors of any other colour barely get a look in, so wards in the District like ours are almost completely disenfranchised.

          As for the National Government, what annoys me even more than the wrong doing is the brazen way they do it. They have such a huge majority, they know they can’t be touched and can get away with it all, even mass murder. There was a time when MPs would have and indeed did resign when they had done something wrong (and been found out!) but that all went out the Window when Johnson came to power. He got rid of the most experienced and conscientious MPs and the shower we have now is all that’s left.

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        • A life long Tory supporter, I haven’t voted in the last three elections, not trusting the honesty, truthfulness and competence of the leaders. But there are also millions of Labour supporters who I won’t insult, but who would unquestioningly vote Labour for a pig or a shop dummy provided it had a red rosette pinned on it. As per Jeremy Corbin. Almost 13 million in 2017, 10 million in 2019.

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          • Well, very soon we are likely to end up with an anti-Semitic Marxist orientated Labour government in the UK soon. The UK could end up like Venezuela-totally bankrupted with inflation of many hundreds of percent. I wait with baited breath.

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            • Maurice, you might want to google expressions like jewish, semite, israelite, israel, zionist, palestine before you write such preposterous comments.
              I will not wait with baited breth for you to do so.
              Especially googling to find the meaning of (anti) semite may shock you.

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      • Isabel, there are many who write in these columns, mainly UK visitors, that they can’t understand why the Government of Madeira doesn’t change. It is a Madeiran decision. I certainly don’t know enough of local decisions to praise or criticise the various parties. it seems they do.

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  3. When John Key was Prime Minister of New Zealand he donated his salary to charity because he didn’t need it, managed several major problems such as the 2011 earthquake. He had a tiny management team and during his term as NZ prime minister the country was recognised as the best managed country in the world.

    We need more John Keys

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    • Sadly he was certainly the exception. Far too many politicians see the position as a route to wealth and of course especially in the UK to multiple directorships and consultancy jobs often at salaries in excess of that paid to MPs. The same applies in the USA where the majority of Congressmen and senators have become millionaires despite the fact this is virtually impossible to achieve on a basic salary for either post.

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      • “Far too many politicians see the position as a route to wealth”
        At least you can’t say that about the current PM, instead he is pilloried for having too much money.
        Of course they do, from both parties. It used to be that Tory party candidates would have made a financial success of their lives before standing for election and Labour party candidates would be working class, shop floor candidates who knew how their supporters lived and had scruples. Now, again from both parties, it’s university, then political researcher, then MP at £86,584 per annum plus expenses. Plus perks. Of course there are exceptions on both sides.

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