Bank of Portugal to Assess Centeno After He Was Proposed as Prime Minister

(Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Portugal’s ethics commission will meet to assess the conduct of central bank Governor Mario Centeno after he was proposed by outgoing Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa as a possible successor in government, Eco reported, citing sources it didn’t identify.

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The ethics commission’s meeting may take place on Monday, according to Eco. Separately, Jornal de Negocios reported that an initial assessment was that Costa’s invitation to Centeno didn’t seem to violate the central bank’s code of conduct in terms of possible conflicts of interest.

Center-right party PSD, the biggest opposition group in parliament, has said Costa’s proposal about Centeno demonstrates the central bank governor’s lack of independence.

A Bank of Portugal spokesperson said it’s up to the ethics commission to make a statement on this matter.

Costa unexpectedly resigned as prime minister on Tuesday amid a probe into possible government corruption. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on Thursday called an early election on March 10, adding that the prime minister’s resignation will formally take effect in early December.

Costa, who’s been prime minister since 2015, said on Thursday that he’d offered the president an alternative to early elections, consisting of a government led by Governor Centeno.

As the president picked the other option, “there was never a definitive answer from Mario Centeno,” Costa said on Saturday.

Centeno previously served as finance minister in two Socialist minority governments led by Costa, who named him Bank of Portugal head in 2020. The country’s central bank governors serve five-year terms.

Read more: Who Will Lead Portugal Now? Turmoil Starts Race for Premiership

(Updates with comment from prime minister in seventh paragraph.)

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