Início » Portugal: President gives sixth New Year address amid political controversy

Portugal: President gives sixth New Year address amid political controversy


The president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, gave his usual New Year’s message on Saturday, at a time of political crisis, after three resignations in the Socialist Party’s absolute majority government.

This is the sixth time Marcelo has addressed the Portuguese since he was elected in 2016 through a televised address to the country, despite being in Brazil to attend the inauguration of President Lula da Silva.

Before leaving for Brasilia on Friday, Marcelo said he would not call for snap elections, as right-wing parties were calling for, and said that António Costa’s government should govern.

“Dissolution is an atomic weapon available to the president, he cannot use the atomic weapon every year, even for a very simple reason: imagine he uses the atomic weapon, and the Portuguese people confirm the party in government, with or without an absolute majority, you can see the position the president would be in? He would not be able to use it next year or the year after”, he explained.

On the other hand, the dissolution of parliament means three or four months of “stopping the country”, he pointed out, noting that “the replacement of members of the government means there is already an interruption of political life”.

Only after his return from Brazil will the president swear in – on Tuesday or Wednesday – the replacements of the members of government who resigned following the compensation of half a million euros TAP paid to Alexandra Reis to leave the company’s board at the beginning of the year, despite having later been appointed as president of NAV and, in December, chosen as secretary of state for the treasury.

The minister of infrastructure and housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, resigned on Wednesday night to “take political responsibility” for the case of compensation to the former secretary of state for the treasury.

This was the third government resignation in two days, after Alexandra Reis and the secretary of state for infrastructure, Hugo Santos Mendes, also resigned.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Fernando Medina dismissed the secretary of state for the treasury, less than a month after Alexandra Reis took office and after four days of controversy over the €500,000 compensation.

The decision to compensate Alexandra Reis, reported by Correio da Manhã, was criticised by the entire opposition and even questioned by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa when he said it would be “beautiful” for her to give up the money.

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