Portugal welcomes its new president over 12 hours of celebrations

Television stations are having a field day today as Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the man already dubbed the people’s president, is sworn in Lisbon with a packed agenda taking celebrations well into the night.

As we write, the former PSD president has just addressed parliament, promising a head of state that is of neither politics but socially aware, with special emphasis on the country’s youth – a sector that has been desperately compromised over the last few difficult years.

With ceremonial music now blaring on all channels, Marcelo, as he is known, has a massive day ahead of him with ceremonies in Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Palácio de Belém, Palácio da Ajuda, the Lisbon Mosque and the Town Hall.

Traffic will be conditioned throughout the day, with the final event – a concert in the centre of Lisbon – to be filled with national and international personalities.

With a poll showing “almost 89% of people have confidence” in Marcelo, the next five years will see him trying to promote “social cohesion” and “heal the wounds” of the last turbulent years of political conflict, affirm commentators.

Whether he will succeed or not remains to be seen – but certainly his opening speech to parliament this morning brought resounding applause.

For more on what Marcelo will mean for the country see our printed edition, out tomorrow.

But as the nation’s media is explaining, today is simply the icing on the cake.

Tomorrow will see the new man ‘at the top’ rolling up his sleeves and getting to work, with discussions on the country’s State Budget and Brussels’ ‘concerns’ top of his to-do list.
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