Photo: © 2016-2019 Presidência da República Portuguesa

Portugal’s president to announce decision about second term

Finally, after escalating months of ‘suspense’, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is expected to announce his decision over recandidacy as Portugal’s Head of State.

With elections due next month (January 24) and all the other candidates long ‘declared’, Marcelo’s continued reluctance to show his hand has been causing a certain degree of frustration.

‘Running mate’ Ana Gomes – a Socialist not officially endorsed by the PS Socialist party – said recently that she hoped he wouldn’t continue the tabu surrounding his candidature. Today it looks as if the matter will at last be brought to a close.

But the ‘suspense’ continues until at least this afternoon.

Say reports, the 71-year-old (just shy of his 72nd birthday on December 12) is expected to make his announcement from a bookshop in Lisbon.

There is little doubt, however, that Marcelo won’t be standing for second term. He is one of the most popular presidents of all time; the likelihood of his winning in the first round of voting next month is massive – and it has been said that not one of the other candidates in the ‘race’ actually has the ambition to defeat him. They are simply using the moment to transmit messages, say political commentators.

As SIC noticias confirms this morning, “all polls guarantee victory to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in the first round of voting”.

The physical business of voting however will be infinitely more complicated this year, due to the pandemic and requirements for ‘sanitary rigour’.

A note published in Diário da República has said that almost half a million euros will have to be spent on masks, gloves and alcohol gel in the various polling stations. This translates into what SIC has termed “120 tons of protective equipment” that will have to be distributed throughout the country.

3,000 extra tables have also had to be ordered – to ensure correct physical distancing, while ‘early voting’ will be set up to begin a week ahead of the January 24 date.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com