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Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has declared his intention to resign following the detention of his chief of staff by prosecutors amidst a corruption investigation concerning the administration’s management of lithium and hydrogen projects.
The prime minister, who is also under a separate inquiry according to prosecutors, announced his decision on national television after discussions with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Costa, who has led Portugal as the Socialist Party leader since 2015, maintained his belief in the judicial system, claiming his openness to scrutiny and stressing that he stands equal before the law.
The president is anticipated to formally accept Costa’s resignation, while the opposition parties have called for an immediate government dissolution.
This political shake-up was preceded by the arrest of Costa’s chief of staff, Vitor Escaria, in police raids linked to the corruption investigation, which also implicated Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba and the head of Portugal’s environmental agency.
The investigation encompasses allegations of misconduct, corruption among politicians, and trading in influence over transactions concerning lithium mine operations along Portugal’s northern frontier with Spain and the development of a green hydrogen facility and a data center in Sines.
These projects are part of an EU-supported green initiative, which has also seen arrest warrants for the mayor of Sines and executives from Start Campus, the company responsible for constructing the hydrogen and data center projects.