First casualty in government’s ‘happy families’ row

There are now so many family ties in the PS Socialist government that ministers themselves are being taken by surprise.

At least this is the story coming out today as the cousin of the secretary of state for the environment has ‘fallen on his sword’ and resigned.

According to reports, the minister of the environment (João Pedro Matos Fernandes) had ‘no idea’ his secretary of state (Carlos Martins) had employed a close family member (cousin Armindo dos Santos Alves) – the inference being that as soon Matos Fernandes found out, there was a serious discussion and said close family member was removed.

Says Observador, the cousin “who was nominated in September 2016 and renominated in November 2o18 by his cousin the secretary of State, will now return to his place of origin in the Municipalised Services of Water and Sanitation of Loures”.

Elsewhere, “familygate” – as the whole affair is now dubbed – has been causing quite some “impact”, affirms Expresso.

Indeed, political website Politico, suggests it has “rocked” the Socialist minority government, creating unfavourable press in a crucial election year.

“The world may have gotten used to Ivanka and Jared in the White House”, said the site last week, but onlookers see this mind-boggling pseudoaristocracy in the westernmost corner of Europe as “damaging to the public perception of politics”.

PS Socialists have done their best to shrug off criticism, suggesting focus on ‘familygate’ “is a sign that other themes of society and economy are doing well”.

But the press have the bit between their teeth now, discovering new family members at seemingly every turn.

At last count (Expresso, over the weekend) there were “more than 40 close family ties in the PS”.

Hence perhaps today’s ‘first resignation’.

The question left hanging in the air is will this be the last?

For more on familygate (click here)

UPDATE THURSDAY

And to answer the question “will this resignation be the last?”, no it won’t: the second resignation has come today, from the Secretary of State for the Environment who appears to have learnt of his cousin’s downfall while on official business in Costa Rica.

Say reports, Carlos Martins’ letter of resignation has been accepted by his immediate boss João Pedro Matos Fernandes and by the prime minister António Costa.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com