The long awaited televised debate between the two main presidential candidates has taken place in Portugal.
The former President Mario Soares and the former Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva went head-to-head for the first time in the run up to the election on January 22nd. Firing a shot over the bows, Soares accused his opponent of knowing nothing about what being President means:
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. As president he won’t have the power to make policies, or to bring down unemployment, or to save the education system. All of that is the responsibility of the government.”
In reply, Cavaco Silva reminded his adversary that actions can speak louder than words:
“I’m not the country’s saviour. I think the real threat is from rising unemployment. I know very well what the President’s role is. But if you ask me, the president must be more active and work together more with the government.” Cavaco Silva has a big lead in the opinion polls. The 66-year-old centre-right politician is well ahead of his left-wing rival Soares, who is 81.
The other three candidates in the election are left-wing, meaning a second round is inevitable if Caraco Silva does not attract more than 50 percent of the vote first time around.