PM to fly back from climate talks to fight ‘fires’ on political landscape
Image: Lusa

PM to fly back from climate talks to fight ‘fires’ on political landscape

Has convened Political Commission of PS for Thursday

PM António Costa will be blowing Portugal’s green agenda trumpet in Sharm el-Sheikh today, but Thursday will see him back on national territory, trying to put out various political fires – not least the controversy surrounding his deputy secretary of State Miguel Alves.

Lusa reports that in his position as secretary general of the PS Socialist party, Mr Costa has convened the first meeting of this legislature of the PS Political Commission. 

There will be only one point on the agenda: the political situation. 

“The meeting coincides with criticism of the political actions of Miguel Alves, deputy secretary of state of the prime minister”.

It is also taking place following a slew of controversies involving members of the executive.

Lusa refers to “doubts raised about compliance with the law on incompatibilities” affecting “ the ministers for Infrastructure, Pedro Nuno Santos, for Health, Manuel Pizarro, for Science, Elvira Fortunato, and for Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa”.

All this on top of the rising criticism of Miguel Alves’ continued presence within government.

Many have suggested the former mayor of Caminha is not only “not sufficiently qualified” to remain in office in the Government, but has been singularly unable “to clarify what led him to advance €300,000 euros to a businessman for the construction of an exhibition centre that has not yet begun to be built” when he was in his previous political role.

Miguel Alves is already a defendant in two lawsuits focusing on alleged malfeasance, if not outright corruption.

Says Lusa, criticism against him “extends to the PS, with former minister Alexandra Leitão “regretting the silence and the content of the interview given by Miguel Alves to JN and TSF, recalling that in 2016 three secretaries of state left António Costa’s executive after being made ‘arguidos’ (official suspects)”. Thus, it makes no sense that Miguel Alves was brought into government as an arguido, in two separate investigations.

Daniel Adrião, a member of the PS Political Commission convening on Thursday, has already expressed support for Alexandra Leitão’s position.

“Miguel Alves does not have the conditions to remain in government”

“My comrade Alexandra Leitão had the courage – a rare quality in politics, but not rare in her – to say out loud what many think and whisper but do not have the courage to say in public. Alexandra Leitão verbalised a more than elementary inference drawn by any average citizen: Miguel Alves does not have the conditions to remain in government. Either he should have resigned by now, or he should have been sacked” he has written over social media.

Daniel Adrião is described by Lusa as “leading the minority in opposition to the PS direction”. In other words, he is not a great aficionado of the government. Yet he sits on the Political Commission, which he remarks, should “according to its Statutes” meet every two months…

A commentator responding to his social media post has asked him to “take this opportunity to demonstrate the discontent of many socialists whose voices are not reaching the party leadership”.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Mr Costa will have a lot on his plate on Thursday. The meeting starts at 9pm, says Lusa.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com