Keen to get on his way to the so-called ‘crunch’ Brexit summit of European leaders in Brussels on Thursday, prime minister António Costa presented his new-look government last night – one in which the number of people related to each other has reduced significantly, and one that pundits suggest has been formulated to ‘steer a steady course’ towards Portugal’s presidency of the European Union in 2021.
Remaining in their places within the ‘hard nucleus’ of power are the ministers of Finance (Mário Centeno), Foreign Affairs (Augusto Santos Silva), Economy and Digital Transition (Pedro Siza Vieira) and State and the Presidency (Mariana Vieira da Silva).
Also continuing to this second (four-year) terms are the ministers of Defence (João Gomes Cravinho), Internal Administration (Eduardo Cabrita), Justice (Francisca Van Dunem), Science and Technology (Manuel Heitor), Health (Marta Temido), Environment and Climate Action (João Pedro Matos Fernandes), Education (Tiago Brandão Rodrigues), Infrastructures and Housing (Pedro Nuno Santos), Culture (Graça Fonseca) and Planning (Nelson Souza).
Out will be Ana Paula Vitorino (married to Eduardo Cabrita, and in charge of the Sea), Vieira da Silva (father of Mariana, now described as the strongest minister in the executive) and Capoulas Santos (Agriculture).
Their places are being taken by a combination of new faces and rising stars – possibly the most interesting being Ricardo Serrão Santos as the new Minister for the Sea (the former MEP is a biologist who specialised in the area of animal and marine ecology).
In all the 22nd constitutional government has 19 ministers (as opposed to 17 previously) and is the largest since 1976. It is also the ‘most balanced’ in terms of gender: with a total of 11 men and eight women.
Said Mr Costa as he left Belém Palace after presenting the list of names to President Marcelo, this is a “government of cohesion and continuity” – due to be formally sworn in next Monday.