PM will be interim foreign affairs minister from next week

  • Lusa
  • 24 March 2022

The Portuguese President announced on Thursday that the Prime Minister, António Costa, will be appointed interim minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Prime Minister, António Costa, will be appointed interim minister of Foreign Affairs, so that out-going minister Augusto Santos Silva can take his seat as an MP and run for the position of parliamentary speaker, the Portuguese President announced on Thursday.

Speaking to journalists at the rectory of Lisbon University, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that António Costa will take up this post “at the beginning of next week” and that the inauguration of the XXIII Government is still scheduled for next Wednesday, March 30.

According to the Head of State, this transitory appointment is necessary “to guarantee that there is no interruption, that there is continuity in foreign policy” until the new Government takes office, and is not unusual: “It is very common for this to happen, for the Prime Minister to temporarily assume the functions, in this case of Minister of Foreign Affairs”.

António Costa announced on Wednesday night before the elected members of the Socialist Party that Augusto Santos Silva would be the Socialists’ candidate for speaker of the Portuguese parliament. The first plenary session of the XV Legislature is scheduled for Tuesday, March 29.

“I will have to appoint the Prime Minister as interim minister of foreign affairs for a few days, because the minister of state and foreign affairs has to be freed up so that, as a member of parliament, he can be present at the opening of parliament and can eventually be elected speaker of parliament,” the President said today.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa explained that, as “the departure of a minister implies the departure of the secretaries of state,” he will not only have to “nominate temporarily for a few days, two days, the interim Prime Minister of foreign affairs” but also “to appoint the secretaries of state, so that he has a team to be able to function”.

Asked when António Costa will be sworn in as interim Foreign Minister of the outgoing 22nd Government, he replied that “there is no actual swearing in, it is a symbolic one” and “it has to be at the beginning of the week, since the Prime Minister is now at the NATO summit and the European Union summit”.

“Then, in the meantime, the selection or invitations to the secretaries of state takes place. I would suggest that this takes place in time, and if there are no appeals, and so far there have been none, the inauguration will be, as planned, next Wednesday,” he added.