Portugal President Anibal Cavaco Silva has appointed Goa-origin Antonio Costa as the new prime minister of Portugal. Costa’s Socialist Party (PS) did not win the October 4 election but he cobbled together a coalition of left parties that has a little more than the majority mark in the 230-member Assembly. His party finished second, with 86 seats.
A former popular mayor of Lisbon, 54-year-old Costa is the latest in the large Indian diaspora across the globe to reach top political positions – from Fiji to New Zealand and Guyana and from Mauritius to Malaysia to Singapore to South Africa to Britain and beyond. He has had to agree to six conditions laid down by the president, mainly focussing on continuing austerity measures.
- Known as “Babush” (the Konkani word for boy), Costa was born in Lisbon in 1961.
- He has several relatives at Margao in Goa, where a cheer went up when the Portugal President made the announcement on November 24 evening.
- Costa is the son of prominent novelist Orlando da Costa, whose writings included essays on Rabindranath Tagore.
- His father spent most of his youth in Goa, then under Portuguese rule.
- He has held several positions in previous governments and in the European Union.
- Costa’s grandfather, Luis Afonso Maria da Costa, who was born and brought up in Goa, was a descendant of prominent Hindu families who converted to Christianity during the centuries of Portuguese rule.
- Portugal was the first western country to colonise parts of India in the early sixteenth century, and the last to leave, on December 19, 1961.
What is the currency and capital of Portugal?