TV commentator and “father of PSD” in Portugal officially confirms he is running for president

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa – best known these days for his outspoken political commentary on TVI – but otherwise legendary for being the “father” of Portugal’s PSD party has officially – many would exclaim “finally!” – declared his intention to run for president in the elections coming up in January.

The timing of his decision could not have been more calculated, explains SOL website, in an opinion column.

Rebelo de Sousa declared on Monday – after the ambiguous win of the Portugal à Frente coalition – that he had “pondered everything there was to ponder”, and that he had made a decision.

But he did not reveal it instantly, because, explains SOL, he clearly wanted to have the luxury of his last TV ‘address to the nation’ before anything he said could be considered a conflict of interest (in other words, self-promotion).

Coincidentally, Rebelo de Sousa’s ‘contract’ as commentator with TVI would appear to be ‘up’, says SOL, with the station already looking for an alternative to fill the Sunday primetime slot.

Meantime, there are endless machinations going on behind the scenes – not least the candidature of former Porto mayor Rui Rio, who may – or may not – become the presidential candidate that is officially supported by the PSD.

To this end, SOL claims Rebelo de Sousa has hired controversial former PSD minister Miguel Relvas as one of his publicists – not really because Relvas is perfect for the job, but more as an insurance policy: Relvas knows everyone in the PSD, and therefore could be a useful mole.

Thus any thoughts that the President of Portugal could be a man that reaches the top job because he is the ideal leader for the moment look like coming up against the stark reality that everything in this race depends on behind-the-scenes manipulation, who (and possibly what) candidates know and who owes them a favour.

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