António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal, has taken the nation by surprise with his sudden resignation amidst ongoing corruption investigations within his government. This is reported by several media outlets.
Despite securing a resounding victory and an absolute majority with his Socialist Party in the early 2022 elections, Costa felt compelled to step down, stating that the role of Prime Minister should not be marred by such allegations, although he maintains his innocence.
The resignation followed a series of police raids, including a search at Costa's own residence, leading to the arrest of five individuals. Among those detained were Costa's chief of staff, Vítor Escária, and several prominent figures such as Diogo Lacerda, a notable entrepreneur, and Nuno Mascarenhas, the mayor of Sines.
The allegations involve illicit activities related to the awarding of mining concessions for lithium in Montalegre and projects for green hydrogen production in Sines.
The police operation extended to 40 locations, encompassing various homes and offices, and even included the infrastructure and environment ministries.
While specific charges against the detainees have not been disclosed, Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba, Environment Minister Duarte Cordeiro, and his predecessor, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, have been implicated as suspects.
In response to the unfolding events, Costa canceled his scheduled engagements and sought an immediate audience with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who has since accepted his resignation.
The abrupt departure of Costa raises questions about the future political landscape of Portugal as the country confronts the implications of these serious accusations.