A woman will be the minister of justice in the new Portuguese government, led by Antonio Costa, leader of the anti-austerity Socialist Party. The country’s president himself, Anibal Cavaco Silva, appointed Costa to form a new government with the support of the Communist Party and that of the left block.
Costa, who was appointed only a few days ago, after the fall of the center-right government led by Pedro Passos Coelho, has decided to entrust the Ministry of Justice to Francisca Van-Dunem, 60, a lawyer born in Angola who moved to Lisbon at the age of 18. She will be the first black woman to hold this office.
After having obtained her degree in law, Van-Dunem began working at the ministry in 1979. The new minister is part of two traditional Angolan families from Luanda, Vieira Dias on her mother’s side and Van-Dunem on that of her father. She is sister to Jose Van-Dunema, a leader of the People’s Liberation Movement of Angola.
The new Socialist prime minister, Antonio Costa, was sworn in yesterday in Portugal and promised, as planned, to put an end to the era of austerity in the country, guaranteeing the adoption of a rigorous budgetary discipline so as to adhere to European rules. The consolidation of public accounts, he said, “will be healthier.” “I will do my best for the country to stay on the path of economic growth, by creating employment and maintaining international credibility”. The new Portuguese government, in a leftist coalition with communist, post-Trotskyists, Greens and Animalists, counts 17 ministers. The independent economist Mario Centeno was appointed as Finance Minister. The sociologist Augusto Santos Silva was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs.