After the earthquake that has left Portugal without a prime minister, a totally unexpected political crisis with an uncertain ending begins. The president of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousawho this Wednesday met separately with the leaders of the eight parties with parliamentary representation, can call immediate early elections or instruct the Socialist Party to appoint one of the ministers of the current Government as interim prime ministersince it has an absolute majority.
However, Rebelo de Sousa himself outlined the path to follow on March 30, 2022, in the investiture speech of the already resigned Antonio Costa: “Now that you have won, and you have done so for four and a half years,” he told him, “I am sure that your excellency knows that it will not be easy for that face, that face that won the elections in such an unquestionable and so notable way be replaced by another halfway”.
Without anyone asking him, the Portuguese head of state predicted 20 months ago that Costa could resign halfway through his term. And he announced that the most appropriate thing would be, in that case, to call early elections since Costa won his historic absolute majority with a very personal campaign based on the prestige of his own figure.
António Costa resigned on Tuesday as Prime Minister after eight years at the head of the Portuguese Government and as soon as the Prosecutor’s Office announced that The Supreme Court has opened a separate case against him to investigate him for alleged corruption in the awarding of lithium exploitations and green hydrogen plants.
The socialist leader kept his prestige intact, especially abroad. Not in vain, he was one of the leaders of the European Socialist Party and the only one who governed with an absolute majority besides the president of Malta. In recent months, it had even sounded like possible president of the European Council.