Portugal votes for a new president in an election that could prove key to the country’s shaky governing coalition as it struggles to enact budget cuts required by the European Union. Diane Hodges reports.
Portugal holds key presidential election
Voters in Portugal are heading to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president.
Since November, Portugal has been governed by a shaky alliance of moderate center-left Socialists backed by the far left Communists and Left Bloc.
Many analysts do not expect the government to last through its four-year term, and whoever wins Sunday’s presidential election will have the power to dissolve the legislature.
Pre-election polls showed center-right candidate Rebelo de Sousa (Reh-beh-loh day Soo-sah) with 52 percent support, compared to 22 percent for his nearest rival, Socialist Sampaio da Novoa (Sam-pa-yow dah Nah-voh-ah) who is running as an independent.
(SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) CENTER RIGHT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, MARCELO REBELO DE SOUSA, SAYING:
“I believe the Portuguese will vote, and I believe this election is a victory for democracy, I am confident in the results of the election. We will see what time we find out the results.”
The current Socialist-led administration has been struggling to reconcile pledges to end austerity with budget deficit cuts promised to the European Union.
The new president is likely to play an increasingly important role in that process… during a time of political uncertainty in the country.