António Costa, lover of puzzles and one of the most highly valued politicians in all of Europe by his voters and respected by his rivals, faces one of the toughest moments of his career this Tuesday: an investigation for corruption, prevarication and influence peddling. which caused an earthquake in Lisbon. It comes almost two years after his large and unexpected victory in the January 2022 elections, where the Portuguese people gave him an absolute majority that freed him from the so-called “jarring” of his first term, an uncomfortable coalition with three other formations of left with certain parallels to the one that Pedro Sánchez maintains in Spain. His resignation has been faster than the downhill journey of the tram that travels from Alfama to Plaza del Comercio.

The former minister of Portugal projects in his figure the mixed and social history of the Portuguese country. His father, born in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique, was the writer Orlando António da Costa, of Indian origin. His mother was the journalist María Antónia Palla, also known for her feminist activism.

At 62 years old, this jurist who became prime minister in 2015 promising to mitigate the consequences of the Troika’s passage, has been everything in Portuguese politics. One of the most media moments of his career came in 1993, when he ran for mayor of Lourdes. It is a town close to Lisbon but poorly connected at that time, in which returning from work in the capital became a hell of traffic jams due to the lack of a metro stop. Costa set up a race between a Ferrari and a donkey to show that the donkey arrived first while the sports car got stuck in the traffic jam.

Throughout his career, Costa has had several collaborators he completely trusts to whom he has professed great loyalty, although some of them created reputation problems. One of them was his chief of staff and right-hand woman, Vítor Escária, arrested this Tuesday. Escária already had to resign from his position in 2017, after the Galpgate case, when he and his wife were accused of the trips offered by Galp to the 2016 Euro Cup, a process that resulted in the payment of a fine.

He began his career working at the Lisbon City Council while combining it with his studies at the Catholic University. He spent 11 years there, already active as a socialist, until he got a seat in the Assembly of the Republic. He was part of the Executive as Secretary of State (1995-97) and Minister (1997-99) of Parliamentary Affairs, before becoming Minister of Justice (1999-2002).

Since 2005, in which he was already part of the government as Minister of Internal Administration, he has only risen both in the Socialist Party of Portugal (in 2014 he managed to become its general secretary to date) and in Brussels, where he became a member of the European Parliament. He was decisive in the Government responsible for holding the 1998 Expo, served as Minister of the Interior (2005-2007), and left his position to be a candidate in the Lisbon municipal elections, where he won with 29.54% of the vote. the votes and was re-elected in 2009 with an absolute majority. His career runs parallel to that of the conservative Rebelo de Souza, the president of the Republic, son of a colonial governor of Mozambique and a personal friend of the prime minister despite the ideological distance from him. After meeting with him, Costa announced his sudden resignation.

Today António Costa represents an almost systemic institution in Portugal, which contributes to amplifying the seismic wave of the political earthquake produced by his accusation and that of his circle of trust. The Portugal that he governed represents the good and the bad of European societies: a country where people still live well, but with evident signs of decline, demographic winter and outdated structures. Costa tried to reform it with policies that, for many, betray the values ​​of classic socialism, such as maintaining a low tax pressure and facilitating the arrival of foreign capital, whether smart ups or large holders of cryptocurrencies. This setback comes to break his plans and, who knows, those of the entire country.