Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa announced on Tuesday that he had resigned amid an investigation into alleged corruption involving lithium mines and other industrial projects. Costa said in a speech that he had a clear conscience but that the prime ministership was not compatible with doubts about his integrity. A socialist politician, Costa has been Prime Minister of Portugal since 2015.
The Prime Minister said that President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has already accepted his resignation and is now only considering the date from which it will be effective. Costa said he would not run for prime minister again. “It’s a phase of my life that’s closing,” he said.
Costa also said he was surprised by the investigation, but that he has a clear conscience and wants to cooperate with justice. “The dignity of the prime minister’s office is, in my opinion, incompatible with any suspicions about his honesty,” he said in a speech.
On Tuesday morning, police searched around 40 locations, including Costa’s official residence and the offices of the infrastructure and environment ministries. According to the press, five people were detained, including the head of Costa’s office, Vítor Escária. The prosecutor’s office later said that Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba was also charged.
Investigations and police interventions relate to alleged corruption in four major energy and industrial projects. According to the prosecutor’s office, corruption accompanied the granting of permits for two mines where lithium was to be extracted and the evaluation of the construction of a center for the production of hydrogen from renewable sources and the construction of a data center in the city of Sines.
With the resignation of the prime minister, the entire government also ends. The next step will depend on the President of the Republic. However, the Socialists have a majority in parliament and it can be expected that they will want to continue governing with a new prime minister.