Thursday 18 Apr 2024

‘Obrigado’ says Portugal PM Costa as he bids farewell

Alexandre Moniz Barbosa | APRIL 03, 2024, 12:39 AM IST


One word ‘obrigado’, with a picture of Antonio Costa standing at the doorstep of the official residence of the Prime Minister of Portugal posted on his X account, said it all, as the outgoing PM stepped down.

After eight years as PM of Portugal, Costa, who has Goan origins, resigned in November 2023 over an investigation in an alleged corruption scandal. He did not contest the subsequent March 2024 elections and his Socialist Party came a close second, but opted to sit in the Opposition.

Costa has had a long run in Portugal as Prime Minister, being appointed thrice. His Goan origins had generated a lot in interest in India when he first became PM in 2015 and continued through his terms. Yet, when he stepped down on April 2, there was hardly anybody talking about him any longer.

Last week, Costa at a press conference, made a positive assessment of his eight years as PM. But, would everybody agree with that?

J A Pereira, a Goan who is living in Portugal said, “The general opinion of the public here is that of the past eight years, there were only a couple that were good. Once the government got an absolute majority they were in shambles and led to the mid-term elections including the loss.”

Costa’s first two terms were coalition governments and he returned with a majority only in 2022. “A coalition always has problems as you have to satisfy the other parties and you do not take the measures you need to take,” another Goan in Portugal, who declined to be identified, said.

Costa’s third term therefore was supposed to be when he would deliver as he had the mandate for it. It didn’t happen that way and he resigned rather abruptly. “When there is no clear idea of what is the mission and you do things only with the idea to win votes, it turns into a mess,” said another Goan in Portugal, who also proffered examples of some other European countries.

Yet, it can’t be denied that when he first took office, Costa inherited a country deep in debt and he managed to take Portugal out of the red. Was it all his doing, or did other circumstances help?

Pereira added, “the economy of the world has been on the up and as such Portugal too reaped the benefit of that growth. If well managed, it could have grown far more. This is the consensus among our friends circle.”

As he bid farewell on X, Costa had his supporters and detractors there too, and a couple of the latter even proposed that he to go to India, one of them suggesting he could begin a business in Goa. But then in politics you can’t please all, and his supporters, which far outnumbered the detractors replying to his post, did wish him well in his future endeavours, some even hoping he would return to the PM residence in the future and more than a couple posting that he was the best PM ever.

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