Portuguese party leader who was foreign minister stands down

AP , Tuesday 29 Dec 2015

Paulo Portas, who in recent years served as Portugal's foreign minister and deputy prime minister, says he is stepping down as leader of the center-right Popular Party.

Portas said late Monday he won't stand for re-election at the party's annual congress, expected early next year. After leading the party for almost 16 years, Portas said he wanted to open the way for a new generation of politicians.

Portas and his party were part of a coalition government that won power months after Portugal's 78 billion-euro ($85 billion) bailout in 2011 and introduced unpopular austerity measures. That government was ousted in last October's general election.

A former newspaper editor, Portas was also Portugal's defense minister between 2002-2005 and supported the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

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