The junior coalition CDS-PP party has increased its power in the Government as its leader Paulo Portas becomes deputy Prime Minister and the new minister of Economy is a businessman close to Portas. The new members take office late on Wednesday.
Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva has accepted the new Portuguese Government reshuffle in which the junior coalition CDS-PP party leader gets sweeping new powers. Paulo Portas, the Foreign Affairs minister who resigned early July creating a political crisis, is now to take office as deputy Prime Minister, the President’s office said in a statement published in its website.
Paulo Portas will take charge of negotiations with the ‘troika’ of international lenders – European Union and International Monetary Fund – and will also be responsible for state reform.
The CDS-PP gets enhanced new powers in the Government by handing the ministry of Economy, until now headed by Álvaro Santos Pereira – an independent and academic – to António Pires de Lima, CEO of the beverage company Unicer, a businessman and long-standing CDS-PP member and close friend of Paulo Portas.
Rui Machete is tipped for the post of minister of Foreign Affairs, a stalwart member of the majority coalition PSD party and himself a former vice prime minister. The new Foreign minister has long government experienced having also been minister of Defence and Justice. More recently he has been involved closely with the Luso-American Development Foundation.
Other new government members include Jorge Moreira da Silva, a PSD vice president, who now heads the Environment and Energy ministry. A former lawmaker at the European Parliament, Moreira da Silva was also secretary of state in José Manuel Barroso administration and adviser to Cavaco Silva, the European Investment Bank and European Commission on the environment and energy issues. Moreira da Silva was also the Programme Manager for Climate Change for the United Nations Development Programme.
Passos Coelho keeps his choice of minister of Finance, Maria Luís Albuquerque, even through the Prime Minister’s choice to replace Vítor Gaspar had been strongly criticised and triggered Paulo Portas’s resignation who demanded a fresh path in financial policy.
The new cabinet members will formally take office at 5:00pm Lisbon time after negotiations failed to reach a “national salvation pact” proposed by the President after the two ministers resignations. On Sunday, Cavaco Silva said he accepted coalition changes.