PORTUGAL: PRESIDENT SAMPAIO RE-ELECTED WITHOUT SURPRISES. 20% OF THE ELECTORAL REGISTER WAS FLAWED BEFORE A VOTE WAS CAST

The official opinion polls gave Jorge Sampaio (Socialist Party) a 60% result over the main opposition candidate, Ferreira do Amaral (Social Democrats and Conservatives) who was forecast to get 30%. The remaining 10% was predicted to be split almost equally between the three leftist candidates, Antonio Abreu (Portuguese Communist Party), Fernando Rosas (Left Block) and Garcia Pereira (Communist Workers Party).

The Portuguese community abroad was allowed to vote in this election for the first time since the Revolution of 25th April, 1974, which overthrew the Fascist Dictatorship and gave rise to a democratic state of law.

The result of the election confirmed the opinion polls, the only difference being in the details:

Jorge Sampaio (Socialist Party) 55.8%

Ferreira do Amaral (Social Democrat) 34.5%

Antonio Abreu (Communist Party) 5.1%

Fernando Rosas (Left Block) 3%

Garcia Pereira (Communist Workers) 1.6%

Abstention: 49%

Included in the abstention statistic must be the 500,000 dead who are still in the electoral register and the 300,000 people who are wrongly enrolled. That means basically that 20% of the vote was compromised before the elections started.

However, Jorge Sampaio, despite being linked to the Socialist Party (in government) proved to be the “President of all the Portuguese”, in his first term as president, which is basically a guarantee for a second term in office.

The Portuguese president, although being directly elected by a popular vote, has merely a symbolic position, which does not represent the importance attributed in the election campaign.

The main conclusion to draw from this election is that the left is very much alive in Portugal and the political right is diminishing steadily and constantly.

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY Pravda.Ru Lisbon