Government reshuffle on the cards

THE PS government of José Sócrates has announced the resignation of João Amaral Tomaz, Secretary of State for Financial Affairs.

The move comes after Amaral Tomaz revealed in an interview with weekly business newspaper Semanário Económico that he had tendered his resignation in the summer but the Prime Minister had asked him to stay on until the end of Portugal’s Presidency of the European Union.

Asked about the departure while on a visit to Alqueva, José Sócrates said that he had agreed that the matter would “be dealt with after the end of the Presidency of the European Union.”

The alleged reason given for Amaral Tomaz’ departure was ‘health problems’ and that the government would arrange a substitution at the end of January.

However, the real reasons cited behind the scenes for the ‘resignation’ are ‘differences in policy implementation opinions’.

However, for the first time in the history of Portuguese parliamentary democracy, opposition party leaders in the parliament have demanded the right to question the outgoing minister on his performance and resignation.

The minister’s departure could be the first in a series of dismissals or resignations expected in coming weeks including Minister for the Environment, Nunes Correia, the Minister for Transport and Public Works, Mário Lino, the Minister for Health, Correia de Campos, and the Minister for Culture, Isabel Pires de Lima.

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