The acrimonious battle for leadership of the PSD – the government’s principal adversary in opposition – gets its “final debate” on radio stations Antena 1 and TSF on Thursday morning at 10am.
The fact that the two contenders are not meeting face-to-face on national television in the last days before their party decides between them may have a lot to do with the bristling mutual antipathy that sizzles between them.
A debate on RTP last week quickly deteriorated into an exchange of personal insults with both men emerging more like mud-wrestlers than leaders of what has always been regarded as the rather more genteel of all Portugal’s political parties.
This week has continued to witness rivalry and unpleasantness, with former Porto mayor Rui Rio suggesting the polls he is privy to put him in the lead, while adversary and fleeting former PSD prime minister Pedro Santana Lopes has labelled Rio too ready to lose, bearing in mind he has said he would support the PS if the PSD party did not win the 2019 legislative elections.
Rio’s reasoning was that Bloco de Esquerda radicals are just too radical to have a voice at the centre of power.
D-Day for the men’s political futures comes on Friday.