Victory for Rebelo de Sousa
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will concentrate on the devastating impacts of Covid-19 as he starts his second five-year term as Portugal’s president’.
img decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” src=”http://algarvedailynews.com/images/news2/18747.jpg” alt=”VICTORY FOR REBELO DE SOUSA” width=”160″ height=”107″ style=”margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 5px; float: left;” />Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will concentrate on the devastating impacts of Covid-19 as he starts his second five-year term as Portugal’s president’.
“Everything starts with the battle against the pandemic,” said the 72-year-old moderate, centre- right politician in his victory speech. His victory had been clearly predicted. The low turnout of voters on Sunday did not come as any surprise either.
Rebelo de Sousa won 61 percent of the votes cast. The turnout was less than 40 percent of the total number of registered voters due to the worsening Covid crisis.
The veteran centre-left politician Ana Gomes, who stood as an independent, came second in the election with 13 percent of the votes. André Ventura of the far-right came third with 12 percent.
Although the role of Portugal’s president is largely ceremonial, he can be very influential and has major powers in times of political crisis.
Rebelo de Sousa is likely to continue cooperating with the centre-left minority Socialist government led by Prime Minister António Costa. The Socialists decided not to field a candidate against de Sousa, but urged citizens to vote in the presidential election.
While Rebelo de Sousa’s victory was never in doubt, much interest had been focused on André Ventura. Right-wing nationalism is flourishing in several EU countries, but until now has had almost no place in Portugal since the dictatorship was toppled in the revolution of 1974.
Portugal is currently experiencing one of the highest per capita coronavirus infection and death rates in the world. The numbers have been steeply climbing since Christmas and the surge last week was deeply shocking. The rollout of vaccines has been slow as indeed it has been across the whole of the European Union.
The current severe lockdown restrictions throughout Portugal were partially lifted to let voters go to the polling booths on Sunday. The full ban on people moving about outdoors except for well defined essential purposes is in place until Saturday 30th January. All cafes and restaurants except those selling takeaways, and all shops except those selling food, will remain closed. This may extend into February.
The nationwide closure of schools for 14 days was added to the curfew rules at the end of last week.
By Len Port