4 February 2022

The race for the leadership of the PSD catches the attention of much of the country’s media, with Rui Rio stating he wants the matter decided by July when he will also resign his parliamentary seat. The PS is still waiting for Prime Minister António Costa to nominate members of his cabinet. Some outlets report on the possible relaxation of Covid restrictions. The continuing severe drought affecting large parts of the country is also being picked up by some media sources.

Público reports that the PSD’s national political commission has begun the process to elect a new leader. Lusa and CNN PT quote Rio telling journalists that he “will not be a candidate for president of the PSD in the next direct elections” and that he would like his replacement to be in place by July. Lusa further notes that Rio promises not to interfere in the running of the PSD and that he “probably will not” continue as a deputy when his successor is in place. Público looks at some of Rio’s possible replacements now he has confirmed he does not want to serve the remaining two years of his term as PSD president.

Expresso notes the PS is waiting for Prime Minister Costa to name members of his new cabinet, with many in the party believing he will appoint senior figures into a number of “super ministries”. DN reports on demands from the National Secretariat of Socialist Women for Costa to ensure there is equality of gender representation in leading government and parliamentary positions in the forthcoming legislature.

RTP notes that the Health Ministry may be about to ease restrictions imposed during the pandemic, starting by only testing those most at risk of infection. RTP also reports that the government has removed the requirement for those with a valid digital Covid vaccination certificate to present a negative test before entering the country.

CNN PT examines the severe drought, the worst in 17 years, currently affecting parts of the country, noting that it will inevitably result in higher food prices and an increase in health problems in livestock, and quoting environmentalist, José Paulo Martins, claiming “there are places where less than 100 millimetres of rain has fallen since the beginning of the hydrological year on October 1”, while DN notes that the Environment Minister, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, has said there is no question of a threat to the country’s water supply over the coming two years, despite the suspension of electricity production in four dams due to low water levels. Lusa and Dinheiro Vivo both quote the Agriculture Minister, Maria do Céu Antunes, admitting the extended drought is presenting serious challenges and that the country must find ways to mitigate the problem and adapt to climate change. The minister said the government had asked the European Commission to accelerate its measures to deal with the impact of the drought and to simplify the process for obtaining financial support. Público carries a report from Lusa that claims farmers in parts of the country’s interior worst affected by the drought are being forced to sell their animals, with one farming leader claiming many of the smaller farmers whose pastures are dead “do not have the means to purchase feed for their own animals”.

Expresso reports that the Energy Services Regulatory Authority intends to go ahead with a fourth extraordinary auction of 50MW of special regime generation (SRG) green energy for the whole of March at a base price of €90 per MWh. These prices mean buyers of energy can source it at lower prices than can be found on the daily wholesale market, enabling them to reduce the tariffs they apply to consumers on the open market.

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