Supreme court throws out Centeno injunction

 In Banks, Law, News

The Portuguese Supreme Administrative Court has thrown out an injunction aimed at stopping former Finance minister Mário Centeno from taking up the governorship of the Bank of Portugal.

It means that the path is clear for the former Eurogroup chairman of European finance ministers to replace Carlos Costa whose 10-year tenure at the Bank of Portugal ended last week.
The injunction was made by the Liberal Initiative in parliament and its leader MP João Cotrim de Figueiredo both of which considered Centeno’s appointment to be a partial ‘political act’.
It comes after some MPs to the left and smaller political parties such as the animal rights party PAN called for a cooling off period of at least five years between an ex-Government figure leaving government and taking up a senior role at the Bank of Portugal, in what they see as a conflict of interests which undermines the independent supervisory role of Portugal’s central bank.
“Since the appointment of the governor of the Bank of Portugal made by a Council of Ministers resolution on the (appointment) of the minister of Finances is a political act, there not being in question any dimension of legality of the same and since the attendant legal situation has to of necessity be that which is currently in force, this court does not have the competency on the matter to decide on the present injection,” states the court’s decision.
In other words, the court has no legal basis to deny the appointment made by the Portuguese Government’s Council of Ministers.
Advisory judges say that the appointment of the former finance minister is a ‘political act’ and any dimension of legality is not at stake.
The Liberal Initiative and its president João Cotrim Figueiredo claimed that there was an “absence of scrutiny’ which opens up a can of worms to a “whole other vast set of concerns about the non-accountability of political decision-makers.”
The last vote on the appointment of Mário Centeno was cast this morning in parliament by the Budget and Finances Committee which means that Centeno will succeed Carlos Costa as the new Governor of the Bank of Portugal.