Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Pinheiro de Azevedo, said on Tuesday (1 June) that he was being opposed by a military conspiracy in this month's presidential election.
Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Pinheiro de Azevedo, said on Tuesday (1 June) that he was being opposed by a military conspiracy in this month's presidential election. Admiral Azevedo, a non-partisan candidate for the presidency, told a news conference that a group of politically-oriented officers had "prepared" the candidacy of Army Chief-of-Staff General Antonio Ramalho Eanes.
General Eanes is backed by the three main parties .. the Socialists, the Centrist Popular Democrats and the conservative Centre Democrats. Admiral Azevedo has no party support and parts of the Army and Air Force have reservations about his candidacy which is based largely on his strong personality.
The Admiral told the news conference that the officers responsible for the conspiracy were those who last August issued the "document of the nine" .. a manifesto which led to the downfall of pro-Communist Prime Minister Vasco Goncalves.
He also complained that Socialist Party leader Mario Soares has deserted him in favour of General Eanes.
The General, meanwhile, held his own news conference the same day and pledged to defend Portugal's new constitution. He said he would support land reform, protect the fundamental rights of workers, integrate African refugees into normal life and defend multi-party democracy.
The General indicated that he was only standing in the election to prevent further rifts in the military and in the country's "political forces".
According to Prime Minister Azevedo, it was the overwhelming support for General Eanes from the military and the three main parties that led him to declare his candidacy and stop the presidential election from becoming a one-man contest.