Former Treasury Secretary, Maria Luis de Albuquerque, was appointed Portugal’s Minister of Finance by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, the office of President Cavaco Silva announced Tuesday.
Albuquerque, 46, holds degrees in economics from the Lusiada University of Lisbon and the Technical University of Lisbon. A former university professor of economics she has worked in government since 1999.
She replaces Vitor Gaspar who resigned under pressure from the leaders of the opposition, labor unions, the business community and the general population.
Gaspar’s draconic austerity measure policies, and his failure to improve the financial crisis, have contributed for his unpopularity and resignation. Under Gaspar’s watch, Portugal’s economy has entered its third year of recession with an unemployment rate reaching 18%.
Gaspar has failed to repair the country’s finances since Portugal was forced to negotiate a €78 billion ($104 billion) bailout in 2011 with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank and its EU partners, aimed to reducing the national deficit.
According to the Portuguese administrative system, the Government comprises the Prime Minister, vice-prime ministers, ministers, secretaries of State (junior ministers) and under-secretaries of State. Each minister usually heads a ministry and has assigned to him or her one or more secretaries of State.
General Information on Portugal: Official Name: Portuguese Republic; Government Type: Parliamentary democracy; Population: 10,642,836; Area: 92,391 sq. km., including the Azores and Madeira Islands; slightly smaller than Indiana (USA); Languages: Portuguese; Literacy: Total population: 93.3%; Male: 95.5%; Female: 91.3%; Year of Independence: 1143.