António Costa appointed Socialist Prime Minister of Portugal

Socialist leader António Costa has been appointed the new prime minister of Portugal.

Making the announcement shortly after midday today, President of the Republic Cavaco Silva explained he came to the decision that he had been delaying for 51 days after social partners showed themselves to be against maintenance of the status quo – a caretaker centre-right executive with no majority.

The president’s decision also follows growing pressure from Brussels over the need for Portugal to present its next State Budget.

For what this new government will mean for the future of Portugal, see our paper edition which comes out on Thursday.

Certainly, the first ‘boon’ will be the slashing of IVA for restaurants from 23% to 13%.

It is a measure that every business in the sector will welcome – but there will be more, all of them designed to stimulate Portugal’s homegrown economy and the general reluctance of people to spend.

With the future Finance Minister Mário Centeno already on record as saying, “Austerity in Portugal is over”, the immediate future promises to be full of new information and quite a few political fireworks.

Talking to Spanish newspaper El Mundo last week, Centeno explained: “We’re not leading a revolution, but we want to change policies to give businesses and families breathing space to start investing and making decisions.”

The new PS executive is expected to be sworn in on Friday. It is ‘supported’ by every minority party in government, other than the outgoing PSD/CDS-PP coalition, and thus commands 122 of the 230 seats in parliament.

[email protected]