Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, head of the Socialist Party, is set to resign following his chief of staff being arrested during an investigation into supposed shady dealings in handling lithium mining and hydrogen projects in the country.
He announced this decision shortly after meeting with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
The Scandal Which Led to His Resignation:
The scandal comes amid police raids on government buildings and the detention of officials tied to the Prime Minister. Prosecutors have named Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba and the president of the environment agency APA, Nuno Lacasta, as formal suspects. They’ve also detained Costa’s chief of staff, Vitor Escaria, and four others. The prosecutor’s office stated that over 40 searches were carried out on Tuesday, including Escaria’s office and the infrastructure and environment ministries.
Prosecutors are engaged in an investigation into alleged cases of corruption and influence peddling involving the government-led lithium exploration concessions in the northern region of Portugal. The probe extends to encompass the establishment of a hydrogen plant within the bustling port of Sines, as well as a substantial investment earmarked for a data center in the city. Investigators discovered during their inquiries that several individuals under suspicion had allegedly used the name and status of Prime Minister Costa in an attempt to expedite processes and bypass bureaucratic red-tape.
Possible Issues For The Future:
The main opposition parties have called for the entire government’s resignation, citing both their inability to properly govern and the corruption scandals. Costa himself stated, “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.”
The scandals involving the lithium and hydrogen projects raise issue for the European Union, which plans to use both to further their environmentalism initiatives in the near future.