Government to be sworn in ‘next week

in News · 18-10-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments
Government to be sworn in ‘next week

Portugal’s president is to inaugurate the new government “next week” on a “date to be determined” once official results from the 6 October general election are in and the new parliament has met for the first time.

The announcement by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, came in a note published on the website of the presidency that outlines most of the proposed members of the 22nd Constitutional Government, to be headed by António Costa, the leader of the Socialist Party, which won the elections.


The president “gave his assent to the proposal, which will be duly complemented with the remaining secretaries of state,” the note reads.
The president had made clear he wanted a government to be formed in time for this week’s European Union summit, not least because the issue of Brexit is coming to a head.


The second government of Portugal headed by António Costa is to have 19 ministers, in addition to him as prime minister, making it the largest of all 21 governments since democracy was established after the 1974 Revolution.


The government also has the most female ministers of any government, with 8 in total.


The proposed composition of the government outlined by the prime minister-designate, to which the president has given his consent, shows that the executive will have a total of 19 ministers, two more than the first government set up by Costa in 2015. Its initial composition of 17 ministers, in addition to the prime minister, already made it one of the largest governments since 1976, when Portugal’s current constitution took effect. On average, governments had 16 ministers.


In the last major reshuffle, which took place on 18 February this year, the number of ministers remained at 17, in addition to the prime minister.


The number of women ministers is to double as compared to the government set up in 2015, from four to eight. The existing female ministers remain in the same jobs: Francisca Van Dunem at Justice, Graça Fonseca at Culture and Marta Temido at Health, while Mariana Vieira da Silva remains at the Cabinet Office but also becomes a minister of state.


Three secretaries of state in the last government have been promoted to minister: Alexandra Leitão (at Modernisation of the State and Public Administration), Ana Mendes Godinho (at Employment, Solidarity and Social Security) and Maria do Céu Albuquerque (at Agriculture). One new minister has also come in: Ana Abrunhosa (at Territorial Cohesion). In the current government, there are no family relations between ministers – a controversial feature of the last one – as Ana Paula Vitorino (wife of Eduardo Cabrita), and José Vieira da Silva (father of Mariana Vieira da Silva) are no longer ministers.


Meanwhile, Rui Rio of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) has announced that his political future remains “in consideration”.


The president of the PSD, Rui Rio, has yet to clarify whether he will remain in charge of the party and stand again for the leadership - according to the statutes, internal elections should be held in January, having said on the electoral night of 6 October that it will be a decision taken “with serenity and consideration”.


Last Wednesday, former parliamentary leader Luis Montenegro announced that he will be a candidate for the presidency of the PSD.
On election night, Rui Rio assumed that the PSD did not achieve its main objective - to win the elections - but argued that it was not “a great defeat”, explaining the result by the international economic situation favorable to the government, the emergence of new parties on the right, but also by polls that will have “discouraged” the social democratic voters and by the action of internal critics.


He considered that he had faced “instability of a dimension never before seen in the history of the PSD and exclusively motivated by personal ambitions”.
Asked about his political future, Rio said it was not a taboo: “Rui Rio ponders, there are no taboos just because he doesn’t answer after a minute or two. Calm down, calm down,” he appealed.
Two days later, at the end of an audience with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Rui Rio reiterated that he was still reflecting.
“I’m not going to talk about it here. (...) Regardless of what I think and what I decide, there is also a moment that is precisely this moment, the appointment of the prime minister, which is a solemn act, so to speak. It would not be logical for the PSD to be in great turmoil before this happens (...) In due course I will talk about the matter, not here”, he assured.



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