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Portugal’s presidential vote fixed for January 24

Published on 19/11/2015

Portugal will hold a presidential election on January 24, President Anibal Cavaco Silva announced Thursday, in the midst of political limbo with a new government yet to be formed.

The president “has signed the decree fixing the date of the presidential election,” his office said in a brief statement.

Cavaco Silva is yet to decide whether to ask Socialist leader Antonio Costa to form a new government after toppling the 11-day-old conservative minority administration in a dramatic parliamentary vote last month.

The conservative president has never hidden his reluctance to hand the reins to leftwingers he regards as “anti-European” and “opposed to NATO”.

He could decide to maintain the right-leaning government until fresh parliamentary elections can be held.

The parliament may not be dissolved in the first six months. Therefore it will be up to the future head of state to decide on any early elections which cannot be held before next June.

The former leader of Portugal’s centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) and prominent television commentator Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has announced he will run for the presidency and is currently the big favourite.

He has said he is opposed to holding elections “every six months”.

Cavaco Silva, who has been in power for two terms since 2006, is banned from running for a third consecutive presidential term.

Portuguese president is empower to dissolve parliament and nominate prime ministers.

The post is elected through public vote, over two rounds, for a five-year mandate.