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Friday Briefing: Of Gods and Saints

Good morning and welcome to PORTUGAL DECODED. Today, Carminho makes it in America, we take a look at the Socialists' new leader and taste the best pastel de nata in Lisbon.


Pedro Nuno Santos clinched the Socialist Party (PS) leadership with an impressive 62% of the vote. Santos will be the party’s prime ministerial candidate in the general elections on March 10, 2024 (More below).The PS blocked requests for a parliamentary hearing of the President’s son in connection with the case of the Portuguese-Brazilian twins treated at Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon (More).André Ventura, the leader of far-right CHEGA, threatened with a no confidence vote if the PSD didn’t bring the party into a right-wing Government following the March 10 elections (More).


The Observatório das Migrações revealed that in the last decade the number of foreigners in Portugal doubled, even though they have precarious jobs, work longer hours and are paid less. The report also showed that foreigners have a positive balance in contributions to Social Security of 1,604.2 million euros (More).The latest Eurobarometer found out that the Portuguese are the most proud of being part of the EU (86%) and have the most positive view of it (64%). However, Portugal was also the country with the largest fall in confidence about the future of the bloc (More).


The European Commission warned this week that Portugal’s housing market is overvalued by around 20-25% and faces the risk of a “strong correction”. The housing market growth is expected to slow down to 3.2% this year and to 3% in 2024. Still, Portuguese house prices will have one of the largest year-on-year growth rates in the EU in 2024 (More).Farfetch has been sold to South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang in a deal that will provide the online luxury giant with $500 million in emergency funding. CEO José Neves penned an apology letter to employees, saying that it will be “business as usual” from now onwards (More).


Carminho released “O quarto (fado Menor),” the song she performs in Poor Things, the new film by Yorgos Lanthimos, which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and is nominated for 7 Golden Globes (More).Tickets for Pearl Jam’s gig at the NOS Alive music festival on July 13, 2024 sold out in less than 24 hours. Other acts announced include the Smashing Pumpkins, Dua Lipa, Arcade Fire and Benjamin Clementine (More).


LUSA | Miguel A. Lopes


Pedro Nuno Santos, the self-described grandson of a shoemaker and son of a businessman, has long been tipped as António Costa's successor from the left-wing fringes of the PS. Here, we look back at the key moments in his political career.

  1. “We will make German bankers’ legs tremble”

As leader of the Socialist youth in 2004-2008, Santos played an active role in the campaign for the decriminalization of abortion and the legalization of same-sex marriage. Yet, he didn’t really come into the spotlight until 2011, when he made a fiery anti-austerity speech: “I don't give a damn if people call us irresponsible. We have an atomic bomb that we can use in the face of the Germans and the French. That atomic bomb is simply not paying the debt (...) we will make the German bankers' legs tremble.”

  1. “The Portuguese people had a right to feel that they can live better in Portugal”

In the first Costa government, Santos was the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs, where he was responsible for managing the (delicate) relationship with the Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) and the Communist Party. Though many deemed this to be a mission impossible, Santos succeeded in getting four State Budgets approved. In 2019, his work was rewarded with an appointment for the “hot” seat of Minister of Infrastructure and Housing.

  1. “This is not populism, this is not radicalism, this is being a socialist”

Within the PS, Pedro Nuno Santos began to show signs of political demarcation from António Costa. In 2018, he made an 8-minute speech at the party congress, in which he cited Karl Marx, called for a strengthening the weight of the public sector in the Portuguese economy and argued for a closer relationship with the Bloco de Esquerda and the Communist Party. António Costa replied by saying that he had not yet retired.

  1. “This is a significant mistake, which I recognise, but which obviously doesn't tarnish the work that I've done so far”

In June 2022, he published a draft legislation on the location of the future new Lisbon airport without the prime minister’s prior knowledge and in direct conflict with Costa’s guarantee that the choice be made through a process of consensus with the PSD. In the end, António Costa didn’t fire him, but demanded that Santos revoke this law and made a public apology (which he did).

  1. “In light of public perception and collective feeling (…) the Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, has submitted his resignation”

Pedro Nuno Santos ended up resigning as Minister in December 2022, when it was revealed that Alexandra Reis, then Secretary of State of Treasury, received €500,000 ($531,000) in severance pay, despite having stepped down as board member of Portugal’s flag carrier TAP (she would only be entitled to it if she had been fired). Santos initially said that he had not been aware of this payment, but weeks later announced that he had, after all, been informed about it and approved it through WhatsApp.


In collaboration with Unique Portugal


Circus AGEAS at the Coliseu:

Filipa Abreu

Porto Christmas’ circus tradition - uninterrupted since 1941 - is back and it will be on stage until 7 January, with no animals. For the 2023 edition, the Coliseu challenged Gonçalo M. Tavares, winner of the José Saramago Literary Prize, to write an original story for the circus. Tickets cost between €9 to €20, with 75% discount for children up to 3 years old; 50% discount for children up to 12 years old; 20% Friends of the Coliseum and Pronto Card.

GNR at Casa da Música:

Portuguese band GNR will close their 2023 tour at Porto’s Casa da Música, with a repertoire full of pop-rock classics such as "Dunas", "Ana Lee", "Efectivamente", and many others. Rui Reininho, Toli César Machado, Jorge Romão, Rui Maia and Samuel Palitos are the current members of this iconic group that has marked successive generations since 1980. Tickets cost between €32,50 ‐ €35,00.

Childrens’ Holidays in Serralves:

The Serralves Foundation is once again hosting a programme of recreational and educational workshops aimed at children between the ages of 4 and 9 during the holidays. Participants will explore the Park and the Museum of Modern Art through activities that value curiosity and creativity, experimentation and group experience. Tickets for 4 to 5 activities days cost between €85 to €190.


Storm Still at Teatro Aberto:

Storm Still (German: Immer noch Sturm) is a 2010 autobiographical play by the Austrian Nobel Prize winner Peter Handke. The narrator, with traces of Handke himself, is a writer, who returns to the green plains of hinterland Austria during the National Socialist era to reunite with himself and his Slovenian ancestors. Directed by João Lourenço and adapted by Vera San Payo de Lemos, the play runs until February 29 and tickets cost €17,00.

Caveira live at Lisa bar:

Caveira’s concerts are synonymous with experience; an experience that happens on stage and leaps from it. Far beyond the boundaries of noise, jazz, or the moulds of free improvisation, there is here a genuine sense of where to go – and how to make that journey a metaphor for life. They will play live at Lisa on December 27. Tickets are €8.

The Pastel de Nata at Confeitaria Glória:

Before the year ends make sure to head over to Confeitaria Glória in Amadora to try out Lisbon’s best pastel de natal of 2023, as chosen by food critics at an annual blind tasting competition. Named after the famous tram that links downtown to Bairro Alto, Glória opened only in June this year and won the coveted prize only two months later. Luckily, they plan to open more branches in the near future. Until then, a pilgrimage to Amadora is a meagre price to pay for the €1,10 sweet pastry.



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