Costa says country “didn’t deserve to be called to new elections”

Portugal’s acting PM wanted Mário Centeno as PS leader

Portugal’s acting prime minister António Costa has been talking to reporters in the street ahead of a meeting of the PS directive this evening, explaining that he asked President Marcelo to appoint Mário Centeno as substitute prime minister.

Mr Centeno, currently holding the position of Governor of the Bank of Portugal, would have assured the country the stability it needs – a stability that, in his opinion, calling elections does not give.

“The PS won the last elections”, he said. “The country deserves, in the context in which we live of so much international uncertainty – a war that continues to be extremely violent in Ukraine, a new conflict in the middle East, an economy in recession – what we needed is not just that this State Budget is approved, but to take advantage of the stability that exists.”

It would have been an opportunity to renew the government, had the president concurred, he said.

Nonetheless, Portugal’s new ‘non’ PM  stresses he is “at the service of the country” and will be standing in, as requested, until a new government is elected.

Questions over whether Mr Costa will be retaining infrastructure minister João Galamba in his executive met with the short response that he “will have to speak with the president on this subject”.

No answers for now. But the alleged involvement of Mr Galamba in this so-called web of influences is being splashed over the media relentlessly.

Intriguingly, no questions were directed at Mr Costa over the future of Duarte Cordeiro (the minister of environment and energetic transition) whose name was bandied about on Tuesday as official suspects were being named, but who does not appear to have been officially cited as an ‘arguido’ (official suspect) this far. 

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Portugal Resident