The coronavirus is currently raging worse in Portugal than in most other countries in the world. Despite the demands of numerous politicians and personalities, the election of the president was not delayed. Many voters were scared, but there were also those who were brave.
Lisbon (dpa) – Despite the very severe Corona crisis in Portugal, Sunday’s presidential elections registered a relatively good turnout, according to official information.
The national election authority CNE announced in Lisbon that a whopping 35.4 percent of all eligible voters had cast their votes before 4 p.m. local time (5 p.m. CET). That is only slightly less than in the last presidential elections five years ago (over 37 percent) and even slightly more than in 2011 (35.16 percent) at the same time. Long lines formed in front of some polling stations, according to media reports. Due to the pandemic, there was fear of a decline in participation.
Conservative incumbent Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was considered a firm favorite. According to all investigations, the 72-year-old law professor and TV journalist will win the necessary absolute majority in the first round. The results are expected on Monday evening. The first forecasts should be made immediately after the polling stations are closed in the evening.
Portugal has just been declared a high-risk corona area by Germany. Due to the pandemic, there have been numerous calls to postpone the presidential election. In a representative survey commissioned by the weekly “Expresso”, 57 percent were in favor of relocation. The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days was recently around 750 – one of the highest values in the world.
Rebelo de Sousa, who has been in office since 2016, can count on 55 to 70 percent of the vote, according to surveys. According to the media, the result could also be tighter. In particular, the incumbent party’s supporters could stay out of the ballot boxes in view of the victory, which is considered certain and the risk of infection with the Sars-CoV-2 virus, he said.
The head of state has a lot of power in Portugal. The president can rescind veto rights over laws and parliament and call new elections. For Portugal, it is the tenth presidential election since the 1974 carnation revolution.
In total, 10.86 million people are called to vote. The Portuguese living abroad are also included. The emigration country, which was last abandoned by hundreds of thousands a few years ago during the euro crisis, therefore has more voters than citizens (approximately 10.3 million).
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