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Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 11:22 UK

MP's cuckold sign shocks Portugal

Portugal's Economy Minister Manuel Pinho making cuckold gesture, 2 July 09
A costly gesture: Mr Pinho's "cuckold" insult lost him his job

Portugal's Economy Minister Manuel Pinho has resigned after making a rude cuckold gesture at an opposition MP.

Mr Pinho placed his index fingers on his head, imitating horns.

The gesture was directed at Bernandino Soares, leader of the Communist parliamentary group, who had challenged the government about a mine's future.

Mr Pinho's action came during a state-of-the-nation debate in parliament. The Socialist PM, Jose Socrates, said "nothing justifies this gesture".

"This was just an episode. One that shouldn't have happened and that affects the government's image, but which has now been corrected this way [with Mr Pinho's resignation]," he said.

Traditionally the horns signify a man whose wife is unfaithful.

Mr Pinho had been questioned about his handling of talks at the troubled Aljustrel zinc mine in the south of Portugal.

Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos will take on his portfolio temporarily, until the general election on 27 September.



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