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Saturday, 23 January 2021

Portugal: Presidential election in spite of pandemic


Portuguese voters will go to the polls on Sunday to choose the president, and the dramatic background of the coronavirus lockdown has caused more headlines than the current President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa expected to be re-elected. 


Given the disturbing figures, the traditional last round of political campaigns on Friday has been cancelled. It is impossible to postpone the vote. Candidates and observers fear that voter turnout will hit a record low. This casts doubt on the pre-election polls, which predicted that Rebelo de Sousa will win the first round. 


Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was elected in January 2016, 52% of the first round of voting. He was sworn in on March 9, 2016 and has been living with the socialist prime minister Antonio Costa ever since. 


In Portugal, the president is the head of state and mainly has ceremonial powers. However, the president does have a certain degree of political influence. If a crisis occurs, the Portuguese parliament can be dissolved. The President also owns an official residence in the BelémPalace in Lisbon.

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