Antonio Costa
Goan origin Portugese PM candidate Antonio Costawikimedia commons

Antonia Costa, a Portuguese politician of Goan origin, is making a serious bid to become the Prime Minister of Portugal having brought down PM Pedro Passos Coelho's right wing government within 11 days of the latter forming the government.

Son of Orlando da Costa, a Portuguese writer of Goan descent, Antonia Costa is known as the 'Gandhi of Lisbon'. Costa, the former mayor of Lisbon, was chosen by the Socialist Party for the Prime Minister's candidature in 2014 after he beat the party leader in a ballot by 70 per cent. 

Costa heads a new left-led alliance, consisting of the Socialist party, Bloco de Esquerda (left bloc) and the Communist/Green alliance, a first of its kind alliance since Portugal became democratic in 1974.

Coelho's right wing party came to power on 30 October but was brought down on 10 November by a no-confidence vote.

Coelho on 13 November had demanded a constitutional amendment for a snap election to be held within three days of the dissolution of the government. But the Portuguese Constitution states that there can be no election for six months.

Following the last election, the right wing minority was given the chance by President Aníbal Cavaco Silva to form the government. He had stated that "any vote for a leftist party was a useless one, because he would not agree for them to govern. It was like a coup d'état."

Antonia Costa's campaign has promised to ensure that there would be more disposable income in Portuguese households by easing up on the austerity measures that were put in place by the conservatives because of Portugal's enormous debt burden. 

Antonia Costa's track record in reducing the debt and income equality in Lisbon, when he had become the Mayor in 2007, makes him an ideal candidate for spearheading such policy changes, according to a report in The Guardian.

Portugal's situation is unlike that of Greece as the government has not made any claims about renegotiating austerity policies or exiting the EU. There seems to be a groundswell of support for the Left which has promised anti-austerity restructuring of taxes.