Latin America beckons for former deputy PM Paulo Portas

Paulo Portas, the former deputy prime minister often described as Portugal’s teflon politician because of the number of ‘scandals’ that never brought him down has landed a plum job with engineering giant Mota-Engil, and will start as a consultant for the firm’s Latin American operation on a salary of ‘at least’ €5,000 per month. Portas claims there are no ‘incompatibilities’ with this arrangement. Left Bloc MPs are not convinced.

Pointing to the oddly-named “periodo de nojo” – which means the length of time in which the law deems it incompatible with previously-held public office for a former politician to start working for a private company, “the interests of which fall within the sector directly governed” by that politician during his respective mandate – Bloco de Esquerda’s contention is that Portas was “always responsible for the internationalising of the economy” when in government.

“Now, with this set of contacts, he is offering them to Mota-Engil”, claims BE’s spokesperson Pedro Filipe Soares.

The ‘row’ may well dissipate as all rows centring on Portas have, one way or the other.

According to Expresso which broke the news of the new appointment, “Portas will need Olympic powers if he is going to fit all the things he proposes to do in the hours of every day, now that he has abandoned Parliament and says he has left politics forever”.

“If Portas was a globetrotter in the four and a half years he was in Government, first as Foreign Affairs minister and then as deputy PM with responsibility for exports, he will continue to be so in his new life”, the paper adds.

Portas is not only planning to work for Mota-Engil, but he is also negotiating with two television stations on the prospect of having his own commentary slot.

Needless to say, the former CDS leader has stressed he won’t be a commentator in the way President Marcelo carved his way to national glory.

He aims to reserve his opinions to international news, he says.

To this end, Portas will be in London this month, commenting on the In/Out Referendum, and in Madrid later “to accompany the elections”, says Expresso.

Meantime, Mota-Engil is a company going from strength to strength. Last year, volume of business was pegged at 2.4 billion euros, “supported essentially by Latin America and Europe”, reports national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

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