Portuguese government official resigns, 10th in a year

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s top transportation official has resigned, including the fate of the troubled national airline and plans for a long-delayed high-speed rail line.

Infrastructure and Housing Minister Pedro Nuno Santos resigned late on Wednesday after paying 500,000 euros ($532,000) in compensation to board members of state-owned flagship airline TAP Air Portugal, while Many others face difficulties because of the cost – an existential crisis.

The undersecretary for infrastructure also resigned, bringing a total of 10 senior government officials out of office since the center-left Socialist Party’s landslide victory in a general election last January. The departures have drawn accusations from opposition parties that the government is unstable.

TAP Portugal board member left the company earlier this year, halfway through his four-year term, after a disagreement with the airline’s chief executive. She was deemed entitled to compensation for projected loss of income.

Santos, who has been a minister in a Socialist government for the past seven years, said he had no direct involvement in the matter but left amid the outcry.

“Given the public perception and the general sentiment created by this case, (the minister) believes that, in the circumstances, he should accept political responsibility and tender his resignation,” said a statement issued after midnight.

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