It is being reported today as something of a ‘shock’, but the truth is that mandates for attorney generals in Portugal habitually stop at one – even for Joana Marques Vidal, the woman who has done so much to “restore confidence in the Public Ministry”.
Since taking office in 2012, Marques Vidal has overseen some of the most controversial investigations, not least the prosecution of a veritable Who’s Who of VIPs – including former prime minister José Sócrates – in Operation Marquês, due to open its phase of instruction iafter more than three years of painstaking research.
Now, as confirmed by Justice minister Francisca Van Duren, time has ‘run out’. Marques Vidal’s mandate comes to an end in October, but her legacy will live on.
Say pundits, she has not only restored confidence in the Public Ministry, she has inked in the line that separates political power from that of the judiciary.
Praising her record in an editorial last year, Eduardo Dâmaso director of Sábado recalled that Marques Vidal followed “the worst attorney general of all time”, Pinto Monteiro who “almost destroyed the Public Ministry with successive delegitimising interventions”.
Dâmaso particularly mentioned Pinto Monteiro’s “shameful” management of the Face Oculta corruption case which, he claims, protected José Sócrates, “liquidating any chance that he would be investigated”.