AS MANY as six million Portuguese could turn out at the ballot box to vote for the country’s next President in January.
According to a survey carried out by Eurosondagem, the turnout at the ballot boxes on January 22 should be higher than in 2001, when Jorge Sampaio won his second term. The company admits that abstention could reach as high as 30 per cent, but, even so, record voting is expected, reports Portugal Diário.
“Although presidential elections occur every five years, normally people expect the President to win a second term, so don’t turn out in such great numbers. But when a President has served his maximum 10-year term in office, more people vote because they have greater concerns as to who will get in,” says Rui Oliveira e Costa from Eurosondagem.
“In 2001, the expectation that Jorge Sampaio would win the election for a second term was taken as read and that’s why only 50 per cent of the electorate voted,” he explained.
In 1976, 24.6 per cent failed to turn out, in 1980 it fell to 15.8 per cent, climbing to 21.8 per cent in 1986, 38 per cent in 1991, 33.6 per cent in 1996 and 50 per cent in 2001.
However, it is believed that public apathy at the polls is also reflected by a general lack of belief in politicians in Portugal.