Cavaco Silva marks first anniversary as President

Ánibal Cavaco Silva celebrated his first anniversary in office as Portuguese President on January 22.

Exactly one year ago the former prime minister, university professor and economics lecturer won a clear victory at the polls with 50.6 per cent of the votes, beating veteran PS politician and former president Mario Soares and Independent candidate Manuel Alegre to the post of President of Portugal.

Cavaco Silva, who was PSD Prime Minister between 1985 and 1995, immediately set to work in brokering a co-operative deal with the PS government of José Sócrates, supporting his package of sweeping difficult, but necessary social, economic and judicial reforms to bring Portugal into the 21st century.

Cavaco Silva, who followed PS President Jorge Sampaio, said in his first speech as President that he would promote “strategic co-operation” with the elected socialist government.

“The legitimate government of Portugal and its sovereign organs can expect from me a loyal spirit, respect, co-operation and mutual assistance,” he stressed.

So far, the President has stuck to his promise and has largely worked well with the PS legislature.

In his year in office he has toured the country extensively, paying particular attention to his programme of social integration  for the elderly and disadvantaged living in the ‘desertified’ interior areas of Portugal, such as the Alentejo.

Year one

During his first 12 months in office, Silva has: visited the Portuguese peace-keeping troops in Kosovo, reiterating Portugal’s role in peace-keeping in the world; made official visits to Spain; signed important technology and software contracts on his state visit to India; attended the XVIth Iberian-American Summit in Montevideo; promoted science and technology in Portuguese universities; actively pushed for economic growth and investment; has been preparing in an active role for Portugal’s Presidency of the European Union later in 2007 and has been actively campaigning for reform to the criminal justice system.

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