The Portuguese Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, resigned today after the controversy raised by the compensation of 500,000 euros received from TAP by a Secretary of State before leaving the airline to assume a public office.
Santos’ resignation was announced by his cabinet in a statement after midnight today, in which he said that, “given the public perception and collective feeling generated by this case,” the minister understood that he should “assume political responsibility” and resign.
Minutes later, the cabinet of the prime minister, the socialist António Costa, released another statement in which he accepted the resignation and thanked Santos for his work after seven years in the Government, as well as the “camaraderie” between the two.
The controversy jumped due to a compensation of half a million euros received in February, after his departure from the airline TAP, by Alexandra Reis, who earlier this month assumed functions as Secretary of State for the Treasury.
The opposition asked for explanations about the figure paid by TAP, which is in the hands of the State, and even the Portuguese president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, asked that “everything be clarified”.
After the commotion, the Secretary of State resigned on Tuesday at the request of the Government itself, to which has been added this morning the resignation of the Minister of Infrastructure, who has the guardianship over TAP.
The entire capital of the airline is in the hands of the State after it was intervened by the blow suffered by the pandemic and public aid of about 3,200 million euros has been authorized.
This is the second controversy that Santos stars in the nine months that go of legislature, the third that leads Costa.
Santos, Minister of Infrastructure and Housing since 2019 and former Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs (2015-2019), was in the eye of the storm in June, when he approved a ministerial order on Lisbon airport without informing Costa.
The prime minister revoked the order and, after Santos publicly acknowledged his mistake, both declared the “crisis” closed.
Santos is the visible face of the leftmost wing of the Portuguese Socialist Party and was even pointed out as one of the possible successors of Costa at the head of the formation.
He is the second minister to resign in just nine months of the third Costa government, which is having a legislature with shocks despite enjoying an absolute majority.
In August, the then Minister of Health, Marta Temido, resigned in the midst of the emergency services crisis.
In these nine months there have also been seven other casualties in the Government of secretaries of state.