The announcement was made by António Costa where he addressed the nation from São Bento in Lisbon, where he also said that he would not run in any general election going forward.

"No, I'm not going to run again for the position of Prime Minister, let that be very clear. It's clear that this is a stage of life that has ended, moreover, because as we all know, criminal cases are rarely quick processes and therefore, I would certainly not be waiting for the conclusion of the criminal process to reach its conclusion", stated the leader of the Government.

António Costa said that he had the opportunity to serve the justice sector “in different ways: as a lawyer, as a deputy, minister of Justice and Internal Administration and also as Prime Minister”.

“I am proud to be the leader of the party that contributed to designing our justice system and guaranteeing the independence and autonomy of the Public Ministry. I am very proud that as Prime Minister – and as the [national] director of the Judiciary Police (PJ) said just last week – the PJ has never had as many resources as it does now to combat corruption and economic and financial crime”, he added.

“If there is a suspicion, the judicial authorities are completely free to investigate. What I always understood as a great asset to our democracy, today I do not understand it to be a minus to our democracy. And my confidence in justice is as great today as it was in the past”, he pointed out.

“I'm here to fully collaborate, to investigate the whole truth and everything that the Supreme Court of Justice deems it should investigate on a matter that, in fact, I don't know what it is” he noted.

He then stressed that, from his perspective, “that the existence of suspicion is incompatible with the exercise of the functions of Prime Minister” regarding his “integrity, good conduct and possible commission of a criminal act”.

The Prime Minister is the target of an independent investigation by the Public Ministry in an inquiry opened by the Supreme Court of Justice, the Attorney General's Office (PGR) revealed on 7 November. This information comes following an investigation into lithium and green hydrogen businesses.

According to Público newspaper, António Costa's chief of staff, Vítor Escária, a close adviser to the Prime Minister, Diogo Lacerda Machado, the Mayor of Sines, socialist Nuno Mascarenhas, as well as two executives, the directors of Start Campus de Sines, Afonso Salema and Rui Oliveira Neves, were detained for questioning.

What can the President do next?

Legal experts told CNN Portugal that there are only two options: "choose a new government or dissolve parliament".

After António Costa resigned and the President of the Republic accepted his resignation, the next steps are in the hands of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who has only two options, according to constitutional law experts.

"If there is a dissolution of parliament, the President of the Republic will proceed with early elections," explains Jorge Bacelar Gouveia, explaining that another option is to ask the most voted party, the Socialist Party (PS) if they want to appoint a new prime minister.


Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins