In the wake of a corruption scandal that led to the resignation of former Prime Minister António Costa, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa dissolved parliament and called early parliamentary elections for March 10.
Official decision for elections in Portugal
In the official decree signed on Monday (15), the President declares: “The Assembly of the Republic is dissolved” and “March 10, 2024 is scheduled for the election of deputies of the Assembly of the Republic”. This is the ninth time since the April 25, 1974 revolution that the Portuguese Parliament has been dissolved.
Resignation of the Portuguese Prime Minister and Operation Influencers
The dismissal of António Costa, announced on November 7, was the result of a police investigation called “Operation Influencer”. Although he resigned, Costa is expected to remain in office until the March 2024 general election.
Operation Influencer: Investigating corruption and influence peddling
Operation Influencer is an investigation into an alleged corruption and influence scandal involving lithium exploration concessions in northern Portugal, the construction of a hydrogen plant in the port of Sines and the investment in a data center in the country. The Portuguese Ministry of State assumes that crimes such as abuse of office, active and passive corruption and influence peddling were committed.
Cooperation with the judiciary
Costa has publicly expressed his willingness to fully cooperate with the judiciary, and the unstable political situation comes at a time when Portugal, Europe's largest lithium producer with 60,000 tons of known reserves, is trying to balance the need for economic development with environmental protection and government to reconcile transparency.
It is worth noting that this unexpected political development comes against the backdrop of a broader context of political instability in Europe, characterized by growing geopolitical tensions, including in Ukraine and Belarus, as well as the ongoing impact of the Covid19 pandemic. Therefore, the outcome of the political situation in Portugal will be of great interest to both Portuguese citizens and international observers.