Almost all outlets focus on the arrest of an 18-year-old engineering student who had been planning what some are calling a terrorist attack on the University of Lisbon. The number of votes cast in the overseas constituency almost doubled, which may be connected to the decision to annul the votes of 60% of voters in the Europe section. Rui Rio voices his concern with IL’s attempt to occupy the centre seats in parliament, while the Popular Party will meet in early April to choose a new leader.
RTP, Expresso, Público and CNN PT all focus on the arrest of an 18-year-old engineering student from a village near Batalha in central Portugal, who is suspected of preparing an attack on the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Science. The Judicial Police (PJ) was acting on information it received from the FBI, which detected an IP address in Portugal engaging in “suspicious activities on the darkweb and social networks”, and in particular viewing a large number of videos of attacks on schools in the US. The PJ confirmed the man had been planning the “terrorist action” against fellow students for months and that at his home they found a detailed plan of the attack alongside several prohibited weapons, including knives, machetes, a crossbow with steel darts, gas cylinders and canisters filled with petrol.
Lusa reports that with counting complete, the number of votes cast in the overseas constituency had increased by 100,000 to 257,791. DN further notes that 60% of the overseas vote – all from the European constituency – was annulled following protests from the PSD. However, this has not made any difference to the result, with both the PS and PSD electing two MPs each.
Expresso and DN both cite PSD leader Rui Rio who claims the request from Liberal Initiative to be seated in the middle of the parliamentary chamber between the PS and the PSD “is close to a bad joke”, adding that IL should sit to the right of the PSD since it is calling for the “privatisation of the economy”, including social security.
Lusa, RTP and Público all note that the leadership of the Popular Party (CDS) will hold a National Council on 2 and 3 April to analyse the result of the recent elections and choose its new leader to replace Francisco Rodrigues dos Santos, who resigned after the party was left without parliamentary representation for the first time in 47 years.
Dinheiro Vivo notes a report from the National Statistics Institute stating that the year-on-year rate of change in the consumer price index rose to 3.3% in January, up 0.6 percentage points from the previous month, with the underlying inflation indicator (excluding unprocessed food and energy) increased by 2.4% year-on-year, up from 1.8% in December.
Expresso carries a report from the Portuguese Automobile Association that states the number of cars produced in Portugal in January fell by 30.5% compared to the same month in 2021. According to the data, production of light passenger vehicles fell 44.3% year-on-year in January, while production of light goods vehicles increased 24.3% and heavy vehicles fell 13.1%.
Expresso, Público and Dinheiro Vivo all feature prominently the winter forecast issued by the European Commission that revises upwards Portugal’s real growth in 2022 from 5.3% in November to 5.5% now, one of the highest growth rates in the eurozone, and which expects the economy to return to pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter. The forecast further states the engine of acceleration is domestic demand that has been boosted by funds allocated through the Recovery and Resilience Plan and the continuing improvement in exports, including tourism, although this sector remains shrouded in uncertainty.