Entertainment Portugal: President Rebelo de Sousa is seeking a second term in a tense health context

02:50  24 january  2021
02:50  24 january  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

Lisbon takes over from Berlin to the rotating presidency of the EU

 Lisbon takes over from Berlin to the rotating presidency of the EU © Provided by Le Point The Portugal took over from Germany on Friday the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, a role which promises to be demanding for a semester which will remain marked by the response to the health crisis.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has gone into quarantine after he was in contact on Monday with a member of his office who has since then tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement posted on the Portugal President Rebelo de Sousa Is Isolating Over Covid Concerns.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has helped rescue two women who came into difficulty at an Algarve beach when their kayak capsized. President Rebelo de Sousa is currently on holiday in the Algarve in a bid to promote tourism there. Portugal 's economy relies heavily on its

Le président portugais Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa le 19 janvier 2021. © AP - Armando Franca Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on January 19, 2021.

Outgoing President of Portugal, Conservative Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is a candidate for re-election this Sunday. In this campaign marked in the home stretch by an upsurge in Covid-19 cases and confinement two weeks before the election, participation is a real issue.

Seeing the president in a bathing suit on the beach or in the supermarket queue at a seaside resort in the country are usual images and closeness for the Portuguese. It is also one of the keys to the success of Mario Rebelo de Sousa.

Former law professor, this former journalist led a long essential Sunday political program. Marcel, as the Portuguese call him, likes to linger for a conversation or photos with everyone. More particularly the most fragile, such as the homeless or the sick. This son of a minister, a man of power, an affirmed Catholic, aims this Sunday to beat the record for the best re-elected president, that of socialist Mario Soares , with more than 70% of the vote in 1991.

Marine Le Pen in Portugal to support his ally presidential candidate

 Marine Le Pen in Portugal to support his ally presidential candidate © Horacio Villalobos - Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images A campaign poster by populist candidate André Ventura for the European elections, May 20, 2019. Marine Le Pen is in Portugal this Friday afternoon. Two weeks before the presidential election, the president of the National Rally (RN) comes to support the right-wing populist candidate André Ventura. At the head of the anti-system Chega party, this thirty-something hopes to confirm his breakthrough in the legislative elections.

Portugal 's president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa - Copyright Euronews. But with Portugal going through a new national lockdown, there are fears that turnout for the presidential election on Sunday could be even lower than in previous elections.

Almost two -thirds of voters think the election should be postponed, a poll by research institute ISC/ISCTE showed last week. In an interview with Bloomberg TV's “Front Row,” the storied investor, Jeremy Grantham, who is often credited with several prescient market calls over the past two

Another result which will be very scrutinized, that of André Ventura. At 37, this deputy heads a very recent right-wing populist party. In a country that emerged from dictatorship in 1974, he may well confirm his breakthrough after entering parliament in the legislative elections last year.

Among the other candidates, we also find the socialist Ana Gomes, critic of the Prime Minister Antonio Costa . At 66, this career diplomat and former MEP has become a prominent anti-corruption activist but is not supported by her party, which officially does not present a candidate.

The fear of a record abstention due to Covid-19

This ballot will however take place in a very specific context since Portugal has reached new records for Covid-19 contamination in recent days and the epidemic has brought the Portuguese economy. The Portuguese have been subject for ten days to a second general confinement . A health context which raises concerns about a record abstention, which could be around 70%.

Presidential in Portugal: Marine Le Pen and André Ventura display a united front

 Presidential in Portugal: Marine Le Pen and André Ventura display a united front © REUTERS - PEDRO NUNES Marine Le Pen, president of the RN, with André Ventura, the populist Portuguese presidential candidate, in Lisbon, January 8, 2021 Marine le Pen is in Lisbon. The president of the National Rally (RN) came to support André Ventura, president of the small Chega party. He is a presidential candidate on June 24 with no hope of winning, but could flirt with the 10% mark. A feat in a country where the far right has been inaudible since the end of the dictatorship.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of the centre-right Social Democratic Party is expected to comfortably win a second term , although the vote is also likely to show a rising far right. Portugal 's president is a largely ceremonial figure but he plays an important role at times of uncertainty.

Opinion polls show that the incumbent, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of the centre-right Social Democratic Party, is likely to easily win re-election, with left-wing candidate Ana Gomes forecast in second at 13.5-14.5% and the leader of far-right party Chega Andre Ventura close behind at 10-12.5%.

While the country had mastered the first wave of the pandemic relatively well, that did not prevent its economy from being seriously shaken, with a recession that swept 10 years of efforts to restore public accounts, according to some economists . The immediate consequence of the pandemic is a 9.3% drop in gross domestic product, the service sector being the most seriously affected.

In Europe, the Portuguese economy is one of the hardest hit. This can be explained by its model, with a considerable weight of tourism which represents nearly 17% of gross domestic product. To keep up, several Portuguese companies have recourse to state aid, such as short-time working, guaranteed loans and cash aid, but the room for maneuver is limited. Aid which maintains the reprieve. If they are lifted, Portuguese economists fear a wave of bankruptcies and layoffs.

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