Portugal’s voters elected a veteran center-right politician and television commentator as their new president on Sunday, two months after a Socialist administration took office following inconclusive parliamentary elections. The new president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, won 52 percent of the votes, with 98 percent counted. He entered the contest as the clear favorite against nine other candidates, which also helped increase his chances by fracturing the left-wing electorate. His closest rival, António Sampaio da Nóvoa, won just under 23 percent of the votes.
Articles about voting issues in the Portuguese Republic.
A centre-right candidate has recorded an emphatic victory in Portugal’s presidential election, collecting more than half of the vote against nine rivals as voters picked a counterweight to Portugal’s centre-left Socialist government. With 98% of the votes counted, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a veteran politician and law professor, won 52.4% of the vote share on Sunday to capture the mostly ceremonial post. His nearest rival had less than half of that and his opponents conceded quickly. Rebelo de Sousa will move into the head of state’s riverside pink palace in Lisbon on 9 March, replacing Anibal Cavaco Silva, who has served the maximum of two five-year terms.
Campaigning for Portugal’s presidency officially got underway Sunday, with a record 10 candidates, led by conservative Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, contending the Jan. 24 ballot. De Sousa, a 67-year-old professor of law and veteran TV political commentator, is backed by 52.9 percent of the public, according to an opinion poll of 600 voters, published Sunday by the newspaper Correio da Manha. If so, he could be elected in the first round. A runoff will be held Feb. 14 if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of votes cast.
Portugal’s ruling centre-right coalition has retained power in a general election seen as a referendum on its austerity policies, but near-complete results indicated it has lost its absolute majority in parliament. Prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s Portugal Ahead coalition took 38.6% of the vote, according to the partial results, against 32.4% the opposition Socialists of former Lisbon mayor Antonio Costa. Costa, who campaigned on a promise of easing some of the painful reforms imposed on western Europe’s poorest country, was quick to concede defeat but ruled out stepping down as party leader. “The Socialist party did not achieve its stated objectives, and I take full political and personal responsibility,” Costa told supporters in the capital. But he added: “I will not be resigning.”
Portugal is set to register one of the lowest election turnouts since the transition to democracy in 1974, with voters turned off by the lack of choice or abandoning the country to try their luck elsewhere. More than 40 percent of the 9.6 million eligible voters may sit out the Oct. 4 ballot, said Antonio Costa Pinto, a political science professor at the University of Lisbon. The numbers opting to stay at home may even surpass the record 41.9 percent in 2011, the year Portugal requested a bailout. With apathy gripping so many voters, the result may prove a hollow victory for European officials seeking vindication for their austerity policies after being demonized in parts of the continent for their hard-line tactics with Greece.
The number of Goans opting for the Portuguese nationality has risen steadily over the last three years, according to the Election Commission statistics.
As per the records available with the state office of the Election Commission of India, as many as 1855 Goans have become Portuguese nationals in the last three years and more are catching up.