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Portugal chooses new president

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Portugal chooses new president


It is D-Day for Portugal on Sunday as the country votes for a new president. If the opinion polls are to be believed, the centre-right candidate and former prime minister Anibal Cavaco Silva is favourite to win. That would give Portugal its first elected right-of-centre president since the 1974 revolution that led to democracy.

Silva is promising to boost the economy and deal with record unemployment. The president in Portugal can veto laws, appoint prime ministers and dissolve parliament. Most of the opinion polls put Socialist Manuel Alegre, the deputy speaker of parliament, in second place. His campaign has split the vote on the left, taking away support from the man hand-picked by Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates, Mario Soares. 81-year-old Soares has been president twice, and was a founder of Portugal’s democracy. He appealed to the voters not to abstain, saying it would only serve the right and hurt the left.
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