Portugal elects its president on Sunday in a context of health and social crisis

Afonso Cardo and Tomás Pereira study Political Science at the University of Minho, in Portugal. These days there is only topic of conversation: the presidential elections that take place on Sunday.

All the polls predict a landslide victory for current president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, supported by the center-right PSD and the Christian Democratic CDS. It also has the unofficial support of the Secretary General of the Socialist Party and Prime Minister, António Costa.

Afonso Cardo see the play like this:

“He supports President Marcelo, precisely because he is expected to win. He did not want to lose the momentum that he would lose in a defeat, and he wanted to continue to have the favor of the President, more or less.”

Thomas Pereira refines a little more:

“The greater the margin of victory for President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the more significant it will be. And if this is combined with a precarious and fragile vote result for the left partners of the Socialist Party, the prime minister’s negotiating capacity will be strengthened. António Costa with the left. “

The socialist party governs the country in a minority, supported by agreements with the parties of the left, but has lost the support of the Left Bloc in the last vote of the budgets.

José Palmeira is Professor of Political Science at the University of Minho, this is his analysis:

“I think that for the Socialist Party it will be interesting that, despite everything, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa does not have a great result, so that he does not feel so supported. Because this could cause an imbalance in the power relations between the Presidency and the Government.”

Portugal is facing one of the worst waves of the pandemic in the world, the social and economic crisis may further hamper the efforts of the minority government.

José Palmeira explains how the relationship between the president and the prime minister works in the Portuguese system:

“The role of the President of the Republic could be reinforced in the next legislature if, for example, a political crisis occurs. In a scenario in which the Government must be replaced before the end of his term, before the end of the term , the role of the president is fundamental. He would have to mediate, so to speak, in the formation of a parliamentary majority in support of the Government. “

Filipa Soares, Euronews correspondent, from Braga, in the north of Portugal:

“With Portugal plunged into a new blockade, it is feared that turnout in the presidential elections, next Sunday, will be even lower than in previous ones and will have an impact on the results.”