President Marcelo has placed himself “on the side of prime minister António Costa” in the controversy surrounding government contacts with Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos over her withdrawal from BPI bank and subsequent ‘entry’ into the shareholding of BCP, writes national tabloid Correio da Manhã today.
Earlier this week, former PM Pedro Passos Coelho told reporters he “didn’t think it was normal for a government to involve itself in negotiations with private banks”, nor was it “good”.
The insinuation was that a meeting in Lisbon between António Costa and Africa’s richest businesswoman needed to be “properly explained”.
But after, Costa himself launched into passionate fist-thumping at a PS party congress in Porto, saying: “We are not here to hide anything under the table. Nor are we here to turn our faces from the resolution of problems that need to be resolved”, the country’s head of State has come out in his favour.
Talking as he met with government leaders in Belém on Wednesday, President Marcelo said it was “natural that the government, just like all the governments in the European Union, namely the eurozone, is permanently alert to that which guarantees the stability of the financial system, particularly when this liberty involves legislative processes or could involve them”.
CM interpreted these words as “pulling the rug” from under Passos Coelho’s feet, and dispensing with the demand for “proper explanation”.
The nation’s best-read tabloid said the controversy was the first battle between social democrats and the left-wing government that had involved Portugal’s new president.