Nearly two months after a convincing election victory, Anibal Cavaco Silva has been sworn into office as Portugal’s president. He takes over from Jorge Sampaio. Cavaco Silva is the first centre-right politician to hold the largely ceremonial yet influential post since the Democratic Revolution of 1974.
He campaigned on a platform of tough economic measures to lift Portugal out of the doldrums, a goal that is shared by the Socialist prime minister Jose Socrates. The president is a political veteran who enjoyed wide respect for his reforms as prime minister in the 1980’s. “We must increase our productivity and our competitiveness,” Cavaco Silva said in his inaugural address in parliament. “But if productivity is currently low, that doesn’t mean that Portuguese workers aren’t doing a good job. On the contrary, they are. The situation is not their fault.” Guests at the swearing-in included South African leader Thabo Mbeki, Crown Prince Felipe of Spain, and former US president George Bush.