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Previously, Antonio Costa resigned as prime minister after being linked to a corruption case related to lithium and hydrogen exploitation contracts.
On Thursday, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced snap parliamentary elections for March 10, 2024, following Tuesday's resignation of Prime Minister Antonio Costa who is under corruption investigation.
After a meeting with the Council of State, Rebelo de Sousa said the call for early elections comes from the need for "clarity and direction to overcome an unexpected void that surprised the Portuguese."
Rebelo de Sousa will dissolve the parliament and call early legislative elections, but with "the guarantee of the indispensable economic and social stability that is provided by the prior vote on the Budget of the State for 2024."
The house approved the 2024 budget bill on first reading on Oct. 31 and the final vote is due on Nov. 29.
In power since 2015, Costa was seen as one of the EU's most stable PMs. Portugal's recovery from a devastating economic crisis had taken place under his watch and he was been reelected with an absolute majority in 2022. Many saw him as a future European Council President. pic.twitter.com/bplYYd5HDA
Rebelo de Sousa thanked Costa for "his service to the public cause" and said he hoped that "time would allow for clarification of what happened," referring to the accusations against the former prime minister.
"The approval of the budget will allow us to meet the expectations of many Portuguese citizens and to keep up with the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, which does not stop and cannot stop with the transition from one government to a caretaker government or later with the dissolution of Parliament," he said.
This week, the Public Prosecutor's Office revealed its investigation into Costa for alleged corruption in lithium and hydrogen exploitation contracts, leading to Costa's resignation and the indictment of nine suspects, five of whom have been detained.