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.
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.