He has been described as “Portugal’s canniest politician” whose “teflon qualities” have seen him weather multiple storms, but yesterday long-time CDS-PP leader Paulo Portas announced he will be standing down as party leader.
After 16 years at the helm, the man who has taken a lead role in what critics have called Portugal’s Punch and Judy politics cited time as the principal reason for his departure.
Talking to journalists after making his announcement he said it was time to give the CDS “new energy” with “younger people”.
He also admitted that if he continued as leader, it would imply staying on for “a few more years”, before the centre-right returned to power – and that could take his tenure into two decades “which frankly is not desirable”.
With no-one seen to be disagreeing with him, Diário de Notícias asks ‘does this mean Portas will be standing down as an MP as well?’
His years as party leader have been peppered with controversy covering some of the nation’s most high-profile ‘scandals’.
Euro MP Ana Gomes (Socialist) is still determined to see Portas answer questions as to his involvement (as then Minister of Defence) in Portugal’s costly purchase of two German submarines, while more recently Portas refuted allegations that he had turned a blind-eye to allegedly corrupt goings-on over the emission of “golden” residency visas to rich foreigners.
As questions remain over what Portas plans to do next, most likely contenders for his vacated position are dimpled former minister of sea and agriculture, Assunção Cristas, former minister for social security Pedro Mota Soares and CDS vice president Nuno Melo, writes DN.
Portas’ successor is expected to be elected in April 2016 as yesterday’s announcement will not be made official before early in the New Year.
Photo: JOSÉ SENA GOULÃO/LUSA