António Costa

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His Excellency
António Costa
GCIH
António Costa 2014 (cropped) 2.jpg
119th Prime Minister of Portugal
Assumed office
26 November 2015
President Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Preceded by Pedro Passos Coelho
Secretary-General of the Socialist Party
Assumed office
22 November 2014
President Carlos César
Preceded by António José Seguro
Mayor of Lisbon
In office
1 August 2007 – 6 April 2015
Preceded by Marina Ferreira (Acting)
Succeeded by Fernando Medina
Minister of the Internal Administration
In office
12 March 2005 – 17 May 2007
Prime Minister José Sócrates
Preceded by Daniel Sanches
Succeeded by Rui Pereira
Minister of Justice
In office
25 October 1999 – 6 April 2002
Prime Minister António Guterres
Preceded by José Vera Jardim
Succeeded by Celeste Cardona
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
In office
25 November 1997 – 25 October 1999
Prime Minister António Guterres
Preceded by Manuel Dias Loureiro
Succeeded by Luís Marques Mendes
Deputy Secretary of State for
Parliamentary Affairs
In office
28 October 1995 – 25 November 1997
Prime Minister António Guterres
Preceded by Luís Filipe Menezes
Succeeded by José Magalhães
Personal details
Born António Luís Santos da Costa
(1961-07-17) 17 July 1961 (age 56)
Lisbon, Portugal
Political party Socialist Party
Spouse(s) Fernanda Tadeu (m. 1987)
Relations Ricardo Costa (brother)
Children 2
Parents Orlando da Costa
Maria Antónia Palla
Residence São Bento Mansion
Alma mater University of Lisbon
Signature
Website Official website

António Luís Santos da Costa, GCIH (born 17 July 1961) is a Portuguese lawyer and the Prime Minister of Portugal, in office since 26 November 2015. Previously he was Minister of Parliamentary Affairs from 1997 to 1999, Minister of Justice from 1999 to 2002, Minister of State and Internal Administration from 2005 to 2007, and Mayor of Lisbon from 2007 to 2015. He was elected as Secretary-General of the Socialist Party in September 2014.[1]

Early life and education

Costa was born in 1961 in São Sebastião da Pedreira, Lisbon, the son of writer Orlando da Costa.[2] His father was of Goan, Portuguese and French descent. His mother is Maria Antónia Palla, a Portuguese journalist and recognized feminist activist. In 1975, at the age of 14, he was already a member of the Socialist Youth.

Costa graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon in the 1980s, when he first entered politics and was elected as a Socialist deputy to the municipal council. He later practiced law briefly from 1988, before entering politics full-time.[3]

Political career

Costa's first role in a Socialist government was as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs under Prime Minister António Guterres between 1997 and 1999. He was Minister of Justice from 1999 to 2002.[3]

Costa was a Member of the European Parliament for the Socialist Party (PES), heading the list for the 2004 European elections after the dramatic death of top candidate António de Sousa Franco. On 20 July 2004 he was elected as one of the 14 Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament. He also served on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

Costa resigned as an MEP on 11 March 2005 to become Minister of State and Internal Administration in the government of José Sócrates following the 2005 national elections.

Mayor of Lisbon, 2007–2015

António Costa resigned all government offices in May 2007 to become his party's candidate for the municipality of Lisbon, Portugal's capital city. He was elected as Lisbon's mayor on 15 July 2007 and reelected in 2009 and 2013, with a bigger majority each time. In April 2015 he resigned his duties as a mayor, while he was already the Secretary General of the Socialist Party and the party's candidate for Prime Minister, so that he could prepare his campaign for the October 2015 general elections.[4]

Candidate for Prime Minister, 2014–2015

In September 2014, the Socialist Party chose Costa as its candidate to be Prime Minister of Portugal in the 2015 national elections; in a ballot to select the party's candidate, gaining nearly 70 percent of the votes, he defeated party leader António José Seguro, who announced his resignation after the result.[5] By April 2015, he stepped down as mayor to focus on his campaign.[6]

During the campaign, Costa pledged to ease back on austerity and give more disposable income back to households.[7] He proposed to boost incomes, hiring and growth in order to cut the budget deficits while scrapping austerity measures and cutting taxes, asserting that would still allow deficits to reduce in line with the Euro convergence criteria.[8] Also, he pledged to roll back a hugely unpopular hike in value added tax on restaurants and reinstate some benefits for civil servants.[6]

Prime Minister of Portugal, 2015–present

On 4 October 2015, the conservative Portugal Ahead coalition that had ruled the country since 2011 came first in the elections winning 38,6% of the vote, while the Socialist Party came second with 32,3%. Passos Coelho was reappointed Prime Minister the following days, but António Costa formed an alliance with the other parties on the left (the Left Bloc, the Portuguese Communist Party and the Ecologist Party "The Greens"), which altogether constitute a majority in Parliament, and toppled the government on 10 November (the People–Animals–Nature party also voted in favour of the motion of rejection presented by the left alliance). After toppling the conservative government, Costa was chosen as the new Prime Minister of Portugal by President Cavaco Silva on 24 November and assumed office on 26 November.[4][9]

By March 2017, polls put support for Costa's Socialists at 42 percent, up 10 points from their share of the vote in the 2015 election and close to a level that would give them a majority in parliament were the country to vote again.[10] In the 2017 local elections, Costa further consolidated power in Portugal as his party captured a record haul of 158 town halls out of the country’s 308 cities and towns; nationwide, the Socialists’ vote share topped 38 percent, again up from their result in the 2015 parliamentary election.[11]

During his tenure, Portugal experienced the deadliest wildfires ever, firstly in Pedrogão Grande in June 2017 (65 dead) and later across the country in October 2017 (41 dead).[12] In October 2017, the opposition People's Party (CDS) launched a motion of no-confidence in Costa’s government over its failure to prevent the loss of human lives in the lethal Iberian wildfires, the second such disaster in four months; the motion was largely symbolic as the minority Socialist government continued to be backed in parliament by two left-wing parties.[13]

Personal life

António Costa's paternal grandfather, Luís Afonso Maria da Costa, was a Goan Catholic and his father was the writer and poet Orlando da Costa. He also has French descent through his father. His mother is the writer Maria Antónia Palla. His half-brother by his father's second marriage is the journalist Ricardo Costa.

In 1987, Costa married Fernanda Maria Gonçalves Tadeu, a teacher.[3] The couple have a son and a daughter.

Costa is an avid Benfica fan,[14][15] being a frequent attendant to the games as Lisbon mayor, as opposed to Sporting Lisbon's. He also accompanied Benfica to both Europa League finals, in 2013 and 2014.

Recognition

Honorary citizenship

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented the Overseas Citizen of India card to Costa and described him as the best of the Indian diaspora across the world.

Civil awards and decorations

References

  1. ^ António Costa's Biography on the Portuguese Government's official webpage.
  2. ^ Then Came A Gandhi, outlookindia.com, retrieved 10 September 2015
  3. ^ a b c Axel Bugge (October 4, 2015), Portuguese Socialist leader Costa candidate for PM Reuters.
  4. ^ a b Agence France-Presse (25 November 2015), Portugal gets Antonio Costa as new PM after election winner only lasted 11 days The Guardian.
  5. ^ Andrei Khalip (September 28, 2014), Portugal opposition Socialists choose mayor of Lisbon as candidate for PM in next year's election Reuters.
  6. ^ a b Axel Bugge (April 1, 2015), Lisbon Socialist mayor steps down to campaign for Portugal PM Reuters.
  7. ^ Axel Bugge (September 18, 2015), Portugal election race still in dead heat, no majority win: poll Reuters.
  8. ^ Andrei Khalip (September 17, 2015), Portuguese PM and Socialist opponent clash over austerity as election nears Reuters.
  9. ^ Patricia Kowsmann and Matt Moffett (November 24, 2015). "Socialist Leader António Costa Is Named as Portugal's Prime Minister". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 24, 2015. 
  10. ^ Axel Bugge (March 31, 2017), As Europe left struggles, Portugal's alliance wins over voters and Brussels Reuters.
  11. ^ Paul Ames (October 2, 2017), Portugal’s Socialists toast ‘biggest ever’ election win Politico Europe.
  12. ^ "Portugal and Spain wildfires: Dozens dead and injured". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  13. ^ Axel Bugge and Andrei Khalip (October 17, 2017), Portugal's government faces no-confidence vote over forest fires Reuters.
  14. ^ http://www.dn.pt/desporto/futebol-nacional/interior/antonio-costa-espera-derbi-com-golos-e-espetaculo-3390523.html
  15. ^ http://static.globalnoticias.pt/Storage/JN/2013/big/ng2323608.jpg
  16. ^ "Cidadãos Nacionais Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Cidadãos Nacionais Agraciados com Ordens Estrangeiras". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  18. ^ Presidencia del Gobierno: "Real Decreto 577/2016, de 25 de noviembre, por el que se concede la Gran Cruz de la Real y Distinguida Orden Española de Carlos III al Excelentísimo Señor Antonio Luis Santos da Costa, Primer Ministro de la República Portuguesa" (PDF). Boletín Oficial del Estado núm. 286, de 26 de noviembre de 2016 (in Spanish): 82949. ISSN 0212-033X. 

External links

  • Biography in the Portuguese Government site
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