Portuguese Prime Minister Resigns Due To Corruption Probe

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa resigned on Tuesday after being involved in a widespread corruption probe.
in a televised address after meeting President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Costa announced his decision to resign.

Costa stepped down after his chief of staff was detained in a probe into alleged corruption in his administration’s handling of lithium mining and hydrogen projects.

“The dignity of the functions of prime minister is not compatible with any suspicion about his integrity, his good conduct and even less with the suspicion of the practice of any criminal act,” Costa said.

He also added that his conscience was clear, but he would not stand as candidate for a fourth time as premier.

It is up to the president to decide whether Costa’s Socialists party, who have a majority in parliament, to form a new government or to dissolve parliament and call for an election.

Parliament was due to vote on the 2024 budget bill later this month. Till president’s decision, Costa will remain in his job.

The prosecutor’s office said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that five people had been detained as part of the investigation, including Vitor Escaria, Costa’s chief of staff, and a business consultant, reported Reuters.

It said Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba and the president of the environment agency APA, Nuno Lacasta, were formal suspects and will appear before a judge.

It was alleged that the suspects used Costa’s name and authority to “unblock procedures” related to the deals.

Amid ongoing probe, Costa said he was “fully available to cooperate” with the justice system.