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Costa bids farewell (but leaves the door open)

The former PM bid goodbye with a "thank you" and left the door open for a return to politics.

On Monday, António Costa published a farewell photo on X (formerly Twitter) with one last message - “thank you” - before leaving São Bento Palace for the last time.

Curiously, in the photo, Costa has the door open behind him, a (perhaps unintended) gesture that many will interpret as a sign that his departure is only temporary.

This suspicion was somewhat confirmed by Costa himself on Tuesday afternoon, at the end of the swearing-in ceremony for the new government, when he stated that he is "always available to serve Portugal", but "now it's time for the suspicions to be cleared up".

He also revealed that he had instructed lawyer to "submit a request to the coordinator of the Public Prosecutor's Office at the Supreme Court of Justice so that he could be heard, as quickly as possible."

He added: "there is nothing worse than having a suspicion and not having it clarified".

The Attorney General's Office confirmed on Wednesday that the Public Prosecutor's Office at the Supreme Court of Justice has already received a request from former Prime Minister António Costa to be heard as soon as possible in the Operation Influencer case.

This action by António Costa is not only legal, but also political. The former Socialist leader seems exasperated at having been under suspicion for so long without being given an opportunity to provide the clarifications he was prepared to give from the outset. On the other hand, as long as the suspicions are not dispelled, Costa considers himself unfit to hold any public office.

As part of Operation Influencer, António Costa, who has not been charged, is suspected of malfeasance.

In the statement released on November 7 by the Public Prosecutor's Office, the last paragraph - which, according to Expresso, was added by the attorney general herself, Lucília Gago - reveals that Costa was being investigated on suspicion of influencing the facts under investigation.

Report indicate that these suspicions rose because his name was mentioned by defendants in the case and because his telephone conversations with the main suspects had also been intercepted.

Later in the week, Paula Teixeira da Cruz, a former Minister of Justice and a member of the now ruling PSD party, criticized the case against António Costa, saying that either there was "no suspicion" against the former socialist leader and the "paragraph didn't have to be there" or, "if there was any suspicion, then there was a violation of the secrecy of justice".

In any case, the former Minister of Justice considers the paragraph from the Attorney General's Office that led to the resignation of the then Prime Minister to be "deeply unfortunate".

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