Portugal’s first right-wing president since the 1974 revolution has pledged to make boosting the economy his primary objective. Anibal Cavaco Silva took around 50.6 percent of the vote, saving him from having to face a second round run-off. He says he is ready to work with the Socialist government.
“I want to be and will be the president of all Portuguese,” he said.
Portugal is struggling to overcome unemployment at an 18-year high and stagnant growth. The president’s job is largely ceremonial, but he can veto laws, appoint prime ministers and dissolve parliament.
Cavaco Silva beat was left-wing poet and deputy speaker in parliament, Manuel Alegre, who took just over 20 per cent of the vote.
“The main aim of my campaign was simply to get through to the second round. We only narrowly missed out, and even so, its a good example of democracy and citizen power,” he said after conceding defeat.
The left-wing vote was effectively split, with former President Mario Soares ,the Socialists’ candidate, taking just over 14 per cent. He told supporters: “I accept this defeat with a sense of having accomplished my duty, of democratic fair play and of responsibility.” Despite the left-right split between the prime minister and president, analysts are predicting a period of political stability.