10 new names among 17 ministers
Wednesday March 23 will go down as another day when Portugal, and the rest of the world, just got a little bit crazier. Everything was set for the prime minister to have ‘an audience’ with the President this evening in Belém ahead of his trip to Brussels tomorrow (to fight, among other things, for a reduction in IVA on fuel); the idea being that Mr Costa would present his plan for the new government to the Head of State, and then the Head of State would make a public announcement, following official protocol.
But what happened? Social media happened… the whole list of ‘new faces’ and responsibilities’ was ‘leaked to the press’, and the President, understandably wondered why on earth he was setting aside time this evening to see a man who was going to tell him what he already knew.
So, news flash of the afternoon: PM Costa will NOT be wafted along by electric vehicle through the wet streets of Lisbon to Belém (President Marcelo is actually described as ‘irritated’…) – and the rest of us have already been assailed with the ‘rogues gallery’ of new faces by whom we will be led for the next (forseeable) four years..
The above image shows the faces: their roles and responsibilities will come as this news story ‘develops’…
Taking it from top left to right (line by line): health minister Marta Temido stays where she is at the health ministry; Fernando Medina (former mayor of Lisbon) becomes Finance Minister (this has been tipped for a long time, and is seen a kind of reward/ compensation for the deeply-embarrassing loss of the capital to a PSD-led coalition in last year’s municipal elections…); Ana Abrunhosa remains in charge of Territorial Cohesion; Duarte Cordeiro takes over the ministry of environment and climate action; Elvira Fortunato is the new minister for science, technology and higher education, while João Gomes Cravinho leaves the ministry of Defence for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Line two: José Luís Carneiro is the new Minister for Interior Administration; Mariana Vieira da Silva remains as Minister for the Presidency; António Costa, prime minister; Ana Mendes Godinho, remains in charge of Labour; João Costa is the new face in charge of education; Maria do Céu Antunes remains in Agriculture and Food.
Line three: Former PS parliamentary spokesperson Ana Catarina Mendes is now the minister for parliamentary affairs; André Moz Caldas, is the new Culture minister*; Catarina Sarmento e Castro takes over at the Ministry of Justice; António Costa e Silva (formerly of Partex oil and the brains behind Portugal’s Plan for Recovery and Resilience) enters parliament as minister for the economy and sea; Pedro Nuno Santos remains Minister for Infrastructures, and finally the final ‘newbie’ Helena Carreiras, as Minister for Defence.
For the time being, the 38 secretaries of state, to be distributed between the 17 ministries, have not been named – but in the case of the environment where secretary of State João Galamba faced so much media and ‘local’ criticism, it will be interesting to see whether he makes the cut.
This evenings news programmes will be buzzing with reflections on the PM’s choices. Updates therefore will come tomorrow.
But if all goes ‘according to plan’, this new-look government will be officially sworn in in one week’s time.
*This detail may have run away with itself: other news sources are saying the new minister of Culture is PEDRO ADÃO E SILVA CARDOSO PEREIRA. Thus the photograph of André Moz Caldas may somehow have got into the frame by mistake. All will be ‘clarified’ tomorrow…