It is a time for reflection in Portugal after the end of campaigning in the country’s presidential election. The fate of Anibal Cavaco Silva and his rivals will be decided tomorrow when voters cast their ballots. Opinion polls indicate the former prime minister could become Portugal’s first right-of-centre president since its dictatorship era ended 32 years ago. His lead has slipped in recent days but it is thought he may still get more than the 50 percent minimum needed to win outright.
His nearest rival is Socialist Manuel Alegre, who is running on around 20 percent. The deputy speaker of parliament’s chances of success have been dented by the government’s failure to turn around the country’s struggling economy. The left’s hopes of holding onto the presidency have also been undermined by split within the ranks. Also in the running is former president and founder of the Socialist party Mario Soares. He is trailing in third place. Prospects for the left could improve if a run-off ballot is required.