Marcelo “awaits response or silence” from government
President Marcelo in a recent moment where he inferred he was not completely satisfied with the government's masterplan for the country's health service: Image: Rodrigo Antunes/ Lusa

President calls Council of State to ‘analyse socioeconomic situation’

Marcelo has been urging government to ‘inform citizens’ on what to expect next year

Against a backdrop of increasingly confused statements coming from government ministers President Marcelo has convened a Council of State, to analyse the country’s economic and social situation.

Admittedly only meeting in a month’s time, the decision has raised the bar in terms of the pressure on government leaders to start telling things ‘like they are’.

Earlier this week, headlines quoted economy minister António Costa Silva at Italy’s MICAM shoe fair saying businesses could expect a ‘transversal reduction in IRC tax’ in the looming State Budget for 2023 to help with inflation; days later finance minister Fernando Medina essentially said Costa Silva was not the man to make this kind of announcement.

Portugal’s Socialist government has been wading through similar mixed-messaging crises since being returned to power with ‘an absolute majority’ eight months ago . Marcelo is described as believing it is high time the executive gave citizens the semblance of a unified approach.

The head of State is “worried about the country’s fragile economic and social situation”, says SIC noticias.

The date chosen for the Council of State is significant, as it comes in the middle of the period set aside for debating next year’s State Budget in parliament.

Councils of State are not convened regularly. The last one was called in June, when Portugal was hosting the UN climate conference, attended by US special envoy John Kerry.

Present at these meetings are people in positions of power within the country: the prime minister, regional presidents of Azores and Madeira, the president of the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman, former presidents of the Republic, as well as councillors of State – public figures who have been ‘designated’ by the president (and presidents of the past) and whose opinions carry weight despite their lack of formal positions within the government.

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