Indian-origin Antonio Costa is new Prime Minister of Portugal


Lisbon, Portugal: Indian-origin Antonio Costa was elected as the new Prime Minister of Portugal after Costa-led coalition of left parties voted out the coalition government headed by Pedro Passos Coelho.

Costa, popularly known as ‘Babush’ (boy) was born in Lisbon in 1961. He is the son of famous novelist late Orlando da Costa who hails from Goa. Costa’s family are descendants of Hindu families in Goa who got converted to Christianity during Portuguese rule.

Portugal President Anibal Cavaco Silva appointed Costa as the Prime Minister on Thursday, thus ending the political turmoil that was created due to a fractured mandate in the election results announced last month.

Prime Minister Modi congratulated Antonio Costa on twitter and tweeted:

New Socialist Party government sworn in

Portugal’s new government led by Socialist Party (PS) leader Antonio Costa was sworn in on Thursday by President Anibal Cavaco Silva here.

The new government consists of 17 ministers and 41 secretaries of state, among whom Justice Minister Francisca Van Dunem has become the first black female minister in Portuguese history, XInhua news agency reported.

At the swearing in ceremony President Cavaco Silva said the new government, the 21st since the establishment of democracy following the 1974 carnation revolution, resulted from “an unprecedented solution”.

He said his doubts over some points included in agreements the PS reached with the Left Bloc, Portuguese Communist Party and Green Party, which are essential to the government’s political stability and durability, still remain although efforts have been made.

He emphasised that the top priority for the government is to create job opportunities, promote economic growth and fulfil international commitments.

Costa in his speech pledged that his government will be “moderate” in action, saying it was not a time for radicalisation. He also stressed his respect for Portugal’s commitments to the eurozone and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The previous centre-right minority government was sworn in on October 30 but was ousted in a parliamentary vote of motion by the then main opposition PS and its leftist alliance only 11 days later, making it the shortest-lived government since a bloodless coup on April 25, 1974 which turned Portugal into a democracy.

(With inputs from IANS)