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Costa in 2022
|Prime Minister of Portugal
26 November 2015
|Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
|Pedro Passos Coelho
|Secretary-General of the Socialist Party
22 November 2014
|Ana Catarina Mendes
José Luís Carneiro
|António José Seguro
|Leader of the Opposition
22 November 2014 – 26 November 2015
|Pedro Passos Coelho
|António José Seguro
|Pedro Passos Coelho
|Mayor of Lisbon
1 August 2007 – 6 April 2015
|Minister of Internal Administration
12 March 2005 – 17 May 2007
|Minister of Justice
25 October 1999 – 6 April 2002
|José Vera Jardim
|Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
27 November 1997 – 25 October 1999
|António Couto dos Santos
|Luís Marques Mendes
|Member of the Assembly of the Republic
23 October 2015
27 November 1997 – 13 June 2004
6 October 1991 – 28 October 1995
|Member of the European Parliament
20 July 2004 – 11 March 2005
|Minister of Infrastructure
15 November 2023
António Luís Santos da Costa
17 July 1961
|Socialist Party (since 1975)
|São Bento Mansion
|University of Lisbon
António Luís Santos da Costa GCIH (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐ̃ˈtɔnju ˈkɔʃtɐ]; born 17 July 1961) is a Portuguese lawyer and politician who has served as the 119th prime minister of Portugal since 26 November 2015, presiding over the XXI (2015–2019), XXII (2019–2022) and XXIII Constitutional Governments (since 2022). He is demissionary, having resigned on 7 November 2023 following an investigation in a corruption scandal.
Previously, he was Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs from 1995 to 1997, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs from 1997 to 1999, Minister of Justice from 1999 to 2002, Minister of Internal Administration from 2005 to 2007, as well as Mayor of Lisbon from 2007 to 2015. He was elected Secretary-General of the Socialist Party in 2014.
On 7 November 2023, Costa resigned following ongoing searches and arrests involving members of his Socialist government in connection with alleged corruption and malfeasance in handling lithium mining and hydrogen projects in the country. The President of Portugal decided to dissolve the parliament and call for early elections to be held in 10 March 2024. Costa will stay as Prime Minister until a new Prime Minister is sworn in following the elections.
Early life and education
Costa was born in 1961 in Lisbon, Portugal, the son of writer Orlando da Costa and journalist Maria Antónia Palla. Orlando da Costa was half Portuguese and half Goan; his father was born in Maputo, Mozambique, to a Goan family. In Goa, Costa is affectionately known as Babush, a word in Konkani meaning a young loved one.
Costa graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon in the 1980s, when he first entered politics and was elected as a Socialist deputy to the municipal council. He completed the mandatory military service in 1987 and later practiced law briefly from 1988, before entering politics full-time.
Costa was a member of the European Parliament for the Socialist Party (PES), heading the list for the 2004 European elections after the death of top candidate António de Sousa Franco. On 20 July 2004 he was elected as one of the 14 vice-presidents of the European Parliament. He also served on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
Costa resigned as an MEP on 11 March 2005 to become Minister of State and Internal Administration in the government of José Sócrates following the 2005 national elections.
Mayor of Lisbon
António Costa resigned all government offices in May 2007 to become his party's candidate for the municipality of Lisbon, Portugal's capital city. He was elected as Lisbon's mayor on 15 July 2007 and reelected in 2009 and 2013, with a bigger majority each time. In April 2015 he resigned his duties as a mayor, while he was already the secretary general of the Socialist Party and the party's candidate for Prime Minister, so that he could prepare his campaign for the October 2015 general elections.
Candidate for prime minister
In September 2014, the Socialist Party chose Costa as its candidate to be prime minister of Portugal in the 2015 national elections. In a ballot to select the party's candidate, gaining nearly 70 percent of the votes, he defeated party leader António José Seguro, who announced his resignation after the result. By April 2015, he stepped down as mayor to focus on his campaign.
During the campaign, Costa pledged to ease back on austerity and give more disposable income back to households. He proposed to boost incomes, hiring and growth in order to cut the budget deficits while scrapping austerity measures and cutting taxes for the middle and lower classes, asserting that would still allow deficits to reduce in line with the Euro convergence criteria. Also, he pledged to roll back a hugely unpopular hike in value added tax on restaurants and reinstate some benefits for civil servants.
Prime Minister of Portugal
First term (2015–2019)
On 4 October 2015, the conservative Portugal Ahead coalition that had ruled the country since 2011 came first in the elections winning 38.6% of the vote, while the Socialist Party (PS) came second with 32.3%. Passos Coelho was reappointed Prime Minister the following days, but António Costa formed an alliance with the other parties on the left (the Left Bloc, the Portuguese Communist Party and the Ecologist Party "The Greens"), which altogether constituted a majority in Parliament, and toppled the government on 10 November (the People–Animals–Nature party also voted in favour of the motion of rejection presented by the left alliance). After toppling the conservative government, Costa was chosen as the new prime minister of Portugal by President Cavaco Silva on 24 November and assumed office on 26 November.
By March 2017, polls put support for Costa's Socialists at 42 percent, up 10 points from their share of the vote in the 2015 election and close to a level that would give them a majority in parliament were the country to vote again. In the 2017 local elections, Costa further consolidated power in Portugal as his party captured a record haul of 158 town halls out of the country's 308 cities and towns; nationwide, the Socialists’ vote share topped 38 percent, again up from their result in the 2015 parliamentary election.
During his tenure, Portugal experienced its deadliest wildfires ever, firstly in Pedrogão Grande in June 2017 (65 dead) and later across the country in October 2017 (41 dead). In October 2017, the opposition People's Party (CDS) launched a motion of no-confidence in Costa's government over its failure to prevent the loss of human lives in the lethal Iberian wildfires, the second such disaster in four months; the motion was largely symbolic as the minority Socialist government continued to be backed in parliament by two left-wing parties.
In April 2018, Reuters reported that, "Since coming to power, Costa's government has managed to combine fiscal discipline with measures to support growth, while reversing most of the austerity policies imposed by the previous center-right administration during the 2010–13 debt crisis.
In early 2019, Costa's government survived another opposition motion of no confidence lodged over a wave of public sector strikes. Ahead of the 2019 national elections, Costa ruled out a coalition government with the hard left if, as expected, his governing party won the election but fell shy of a parliamentary majority. Instead, he indicated he favored a continuation of the current pact in parliament with the Communists and/or the Left Bloc – rather than any formal coalition in which they would have government ministers.
Second term (2019–2022)
Third term (2022–present)
Costa was re-elected in the 2022 Portuguese legislative election, with the PS winning 120 seats, up from 108 seats, in a surprise outright majority in the Assembly. In the weeks leading up to the election, polling suggested that Costa and the Socialist party would retain their status as the largest party in the Assembly but would need the help of other parties to achieve a majority. In his victory speech, Costa thanked voters for giving him "an increased responsibility" and promising to govern "with and for all Portuguese". This gave him the mandate to form the XXIII Constitutional Government of Portugal.
Costa’s third term was marred by a wave of scandals and resignations that affected his popularity negatively in the opinion polls. 11 ministers and secretaries of state left their roles, over allegations of corruption and past misconduct or questionable practices. The most significant scandal was the TAP scandal where Costa’s government has been involved. Infrastructure Minister Pedro Nuno Santos submitted his resignation in December 2022, following a public backlash over a hefty severance pay a secretary of state received from state-owned TAP, which fell under his remit.
Costa replaced Santos with João Galamba who submitted his resignation in May 2023 as the TAP scandal widened. Opposition parties said that Galamba concealed from parliament that he had proposed that then TAP CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener meet Socialist lawmakers to prepare for a parliamentary hearing about her severance package. Widener was later fired after an official inspection found that the severance was illegal. Galamba initially said the preparatory meeting was TAP's idea, but acknowledged it was he who had told Widener that, if she wanted, she could attend the meeting where his advisors would also be present.
Galamba added that one of his advisors, who took notes on what was discussed at the meeting, had been fired, and taken a laptop with confidential information with him. The laptop was later recovered by the national intelligence service SIS, leading to accusations from the opposition of a government overreach since such cases were a police matter. Costa denied that neither he nor any member of the government had given orders to SIS to recover the laptop. He added that he would reject the resignation of Galamba, keeping him in the job against president Marcelo Rebelo De Sousa's and the opposition’s request. President Rebelo de Sousa responded by issuing a warning that Costa's government needed to work on preserving its credibility, while refraining from using his power to dissolve parliament.
On 7 November 2023, Portuguese prosecutors detained Costa's chief of staff Vítor Escária and named João Galamba a formal suspect in an investigation into alleged corruption in lithium mining, green hydrogen production and a data centre deals. Over 40 searches were carried out, some of which in government and local government buildings, including Escária's office, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Action. Costa is also under suspicion of enabling the lithium and green hydrogen deals, and will be inquired by the Supreme Court of Justice.
In a televised statement in the afternoon, Costa announced his resignation from the position of prime minister, saying that "the dignity of the functions of prime minister is not compatible with any suspicion about his integrity, his good conduct and even less with the suspicion of the practice of any criminal act".
The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, accepted Costa's resignation on the same day. However, the resignation of Costa and his government was only made official in 8 December, in order to have the State Budget for 2024 approved. The Assembly of the Republic will also be dissolved. The president scheduled early elections to be held on 10 March 2024. Costa's government will remain in office in a caretaker capacity until a new government is sworn in following the elections.
In 1987, Costa married Fernanda Maria Gonçalves Tadeu, a teacher. The couple have a son and a daughter. Costa also holds an Overseas Citizenship of India.
Costa is a supporter of the football club S.L. Benfica, and was a frequent spectator at their matches while mayor of Lisbon. He also accompanied Benfica to both UEFA Europa League finals, in 2013 and 2014.
- Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry (1 March 2006)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Rio Branco (29 May 2023)
- Commander of the Order of Rio Branco (19 May 2014)
- Chile: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (31 August 2010)
- Estonia: Third Class of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (16 July 2010)
- Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of Honour (21 April 2017)
- Holy See: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (3 September 2010)
- Japan: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure (16 February 2015)
- Lithuania: Grand Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania (16 July 2010)
- Luxembourg: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (28 June 2019)
- Norway: Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit (25 September 2009)
- Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (16 February 2015)
- Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta (18 July 2012)
- Sovereign Military Order of Malta: Grand Cross of the Order pro merito Melitensi (23 November 2010)
- Spain: Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III (25 November 2016)
- India: Pravasi Bharatiya Samman for Public Services (2017)
In Spanish: António Costa para niños
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