Portugal has begun its campaigning for the European Parliamentary elections. Only eight percent of the Portuguese know the ballot for them will be held on June 7, and turnout is being predicted to reach only 24 percent.
Launch of the campaigns has come with squabbling over how much the competing parties aim to spend. As the ruling Socialists’s top candidate is Vital Moreira, an academic and specialist in constitutional law, began his rounds, the party was tipped to take 39 percent of the vote. The opposition conservative PSD Social Democrats are forecast to poll 36 percent. Yet they have the biggest budget for the campaign, though in Portugal it is the country that foots the bill. Paulo Rangel, head of the Social Democrats’ list, said: “The only thing PSD is doing, and always will, is to state true budgets. I don’t know if other parties do that. I’m not saying they don’t but looking at their campaign, they are spending more money than we are.” Compared to the PSD’s 2.2 million euros, the Socialists have earmarked a million and a half. The Left Wing BE is spending a bit less than half of that. BE head candidate Miguel Portas said: “If we split the campaign budgets in two, it would be excessive and if we divide it by three, it will still be too much.” The BE is expected to win 12 percent of the vote. The CDU Communists and Greens block is spending still less, and is anticipated to garner seven percent. The right-wing CDS looks to win some two percent support from the Portuguese. Communist badges being handed out free outside a car factory were doing a brisk trade on the first day of campaigning.