Portugal’s “People’s President” dances with children as talk centres on whether he is just too happy (with video)

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was always going to be a break from the norm. From the way he threw open Belém Palace when he first took office to the manner he dispensed with a traditional stuffy banquet full of political bigwigs in favour of a concert to celebrate Portugal’s youth, he has always shown an almost child-like delight in making ordinary people feel happy. But now the happiness he “irradiates” appears to be annoying serious politicians like former prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho – a man who has always shown himself at pains to “do the right thing”.

In a recent interview with Expresso, Passos Coelho discussed Marcelo’s happiness, suggesting he was still bemused by how the president’s rise to glory had been so “unstoppable”.

His rather sour diatribe even saw Marcelo quip that he would rather irradiate happiness than acrimony.

But today, talk is back on Marcelo’s ‘happiness’ as newspapers and television have captured images of him wiggling his presidential hips and stomping the ground as barefoot children in Mozambique teach him the dance steps of their national Marrabenta.

And while Marcelo dances through an official visit to a country that is otherwise fustigated by crises and economic gloom, prime minister António Costa has been praising his happiness, saying it’s high time Portugal saw more of it.

A clear dig at his predecessor’s peeve, Costa’s words were picked up by national tabloid Correio da Manhã which stresses that Marcelo “has had time for serious business with Brussels” in between all the fun and dancing.

Brussels is currently “analysing” Portugal’s Stability Programme, and as CM quotes Marcelo as having said: “Governing countries should not be governing for numbers. It should be governing for people.”

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