Portugal: Successor to resigned Prime Minister Antonio Costa inducted as head of the PS

The new secretary general of the Portuguese Socialist Party (PS), Pedro Nuno Santos, was officially inaugurated on Sunday 7 January by the party activists of Prime Minister Antonio Costa, whose resignation has led to the calling of early general elections for 10 March.

Pedro Nuno Santos, 46, is a candidate for the post of Prime Minister in the event of a victory for the PS in the early legislative elections on 10 March. AP - Armando Franca

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It is upon us that the enormous responsibility of writing a new chapter falls on the book of PS governments and the development of the country Pedro Nuno Santos said in his closing speech at the congress that brought together his party's activists in Lisbon, in the presence of the resigned Prime Minister Antonio Costa, in power since 2015.

Coming from the left wing of the Socialist Party, this economist by training had played a key role in the first Costa government, as Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs in charge of relations with the parties of the radical left that allowed the Socialists to come to power with the aim of "turning the page" on the austerity policy pursued until then by the right.

Portugal plunged into political crisis in early November after a series of arrests and raids led to the indictment of Antonio Costa's chief of staff and his infrastructure minister on charges of influence peddling. The public prosecutor's office then informed that the head of government was the subject of a separate investigation, and he immediately announced his resignation, specifying that he would not seek a new mandate.

Despite being favourites in the polls, the Socialists are struggling to hide their fear of losing the election, even though they held an absolute majority in Parliament, points out our correspondent in Lisbon, Marie-Line Darcy. But the 46-year-old new strongman of the Socialist Party has serious assets to renew the political alliance. The left wing of the party calls for the need to reconcile the middle class with the welfare state in order to avoid a democratic breakdown. A thinly veiled reference to the far-right of the desperate Chega party.

According to information published on Friday by the media Observador, Antonio Costa is accused of prevarication, suspected of having participated in the drafting of a regional planning law that benefited a company that planned to build a mega-data center near the port of Sines (southwest).


And with AFP)

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