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Cavaco fined as he steps down as Portugal’s president

Stepping down in little more than two weeks after 10 years as the country’s president, Cavaco Silva has been slapped with a €700 fine.

Described as “unprecedented”, it emanates from Portugal’s Constitutional Court – the panel of 13 black-robed judges that has become synonymous with contentious rulings in the defence of the country’s 1976 Constitution.

What is not clear is why the decision has only been made public now – as it refers to the presidential race five years ago.

Cavaco’s fine emanates from what the court dubs as “violations of the general duty of accounting organisation”, namely “the lack of due proof of expenses”.

Correio da Manhã explains: “At issue is the purchase of watches, hotel stays and meals and an event held at the Kais establishment for 120 people”, costing €27,850 and “registered after the elections”.

It is not certain how the court came to the total of €700 with regard to the outgoing president’s fine, but losing candidates Manuel Alegre, Fernando Nobre and Francisco Lopes all fared even worse for their accounting “illegalities”.

Only José Manuel Coelho did better, seeing his slip-up (not explained) setting him back €540.

This far none have spoken on what amounts to a form of public disgrace, but the fine will be particularly galling for Fernando Nobre who ran as a candidate who wanted to see transparency.

Nobre’s censure – the highest, along with Manuel Alegre, of €1,900 – involved “a meal for €4,000 which was just registered with an email”, explains CM.

Expresso adds that this was “the first time that the Constitutional Court condemned presidential candidates” as well as their respective financial representatives.

“In the 2006 elections”, also won by Cavaco, “the Public ministry abstained from imposing any sanction even though illegalities and irregularities were detected”, said the paper.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com