Costa says that the government is only obliged to keep a low profile on the 15th with the dissolution of parliament

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The Prime Minister argued today that a government in administration does not mean a country at a standstill, and pointed out that his executive will only be obliged to keep a low profile from the 15th with the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic.

António Costa was speaking to journalists at the end of a visit to the future Estrela station, which will be part of the new Lisbon Metro circular line, after refusing to comment on the content of the New Year’s message from the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

“As for the President of the Republic’s speech, my job is not to be a commentator. In eight years I’ve never commented on the President’s speeches and I’m certainly not going to start now,” he replied.

At the journalists’ insistence, António Costa once again invoked the thesis that “the Prime Minister’s job is not to be a commentator”.

“The prime minister’s job is to govern, to work, to do things, to make things happen. Others have the job of commenting, but I don’t compete with those who should comment,” he said, before being asked whether his visit to the Lisbon Metro works could be seen as pre-election campaigning, at a time when his government is already in office.

According to António Costa, “a government in management must manage, which means not standing still”.

“But, above all, the fact that the government is in administration doesn’t mean that the country is in administration. The country is working, the people working on this project are working, the metro is still running and it has to continue to do so. The country can’t stop because there’s a government in administration, the country can’t stop because there’s a dissolution [in prospect] of the Assembly [of the Republic] and the country can’t stop because there are going to be elections,” he said.

The Prime Minister then noted that from the moment the President of the Republic signs the decree dissolving parliament, which will happen on January 15, the government “will be bound by a duty of restraint typical of the pre-election period”.

“We are still a long way from that moment and it is above all important that the country realizes that there is no reason to stop. On the contrary, everything invites us to speed up action, because 2024 is going to be a particularly demanding year,” he said.

In this context, the leader of the executive argued that, following the legislative elections on March 10, “there will certainly be a change of government whatever the electoral result”.

“And the international environment in 2024 is very challenging. So we can’t lose what we’ve achieved so far. In the midst of the [Covid-19] pandemic, in the midst of wars, we have managed to maintain record levels of employment and growth,” he said.

Also in response, the Prime Minister pointed out that, “despite the very strong job creation, we have managed to achieve a steady rise in incomes above inflation and we have achieved a significant reduction in inflation”.

He then gave another message: “We can’t spoil the good things we have and we have to continue without spoiling them,” he stressed.

On the subject of the legislative elections on March 10, António Costa made a distinction between his current role as prime minister and his role as former secretary-general of the PS, but he also made a direct reference to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s decision to dissolve parliament following his resignation on November 7.

“Democracy is always strengthened when citizens participate. It’s very important that everyone takes part in an election, which has been decided and called by the President of the Republic. It’s essential that we don’t leave it up to others to make the choice that each of us has to make. As prime minister, it’s not my place to say more, but in other circumstances, in other roles, I’ll be able to say more about what to do with the vote,” he added.

Iris Lavan
Iris Lavan
With a background as a consultant in the medical industry, Iris Lavan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Portugal Pulse. Iris also runs a company in Tel Aviv offering marketing, business development, content creation and public relations services. She holds a degree in economics and management, giving her a solid grounding in business strategy and financial planning. Iris' commitment to Portugal Pulse is reflected not only in her consulting career, but also in her impact on the Portugale media landscape in Israel. She was an interviewer for Hadshot Portugal חדשות פורטוגל, a media outlet that broadcasts news about Portugal in Hebrew, where she provided valuable information on current affairs, healthcare and the economy. Since July 2023, Iris has also been part of the Portugal Pulse team.

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