Portugal’s new government inches closer to ‘touchline’

Lisbon: After the build-up through the day, with commentators ‘revealing’ hour by hour the new names chosen to lead Portugal’s 24th government, PM designate Luís Montenegro made his meeting at 6pm with President Marcelo, and left after 15 minutes – giving no statement to waiting journalists.

Critics have been giving their take on the 17 new ministers – some a great deal more positive than others (most fairly laconic).

The trouble with this ‘new government’ is that too many suspect any sparkle will quickly dull, even tarnish irreparably, before the year is out.

One ‘positive’ for the Algarve at least – a region that traditionally suffers scant consideration from central power – is that new PSD MP Miguel Pinto Luz has a key role as minister of infrastructures and housing. As such he will be ‘at the helm’ in the future privatisation of flagship airline TAP – something some critics have said counts against him, as he was involved in the first privatisation, in the Passos Coelho era, and that ‘didn’t go well’…

Another potential positive is that the new minister of health, Ana Paula Martins, is a former head of department at Santa Maria Hospital/ chairman of the board of directors of the Lisbon North hospital centre and knows only too well the issues that need tackling in the health service – potentially the first of these being unpicking the last executive’s unpopular ‘reforms’.