On Sunday (25 April) the people of Portugal elected their first legislature since the Salazar dictatorship was ousted in the 1974 military coup.
On Sunday (25 April) the people of Portugal elected their first legislature since the Salazar dictatorship was ousted in the 1974 military coup. Shortly after the polling stations closed, officials said that about 80 per cent of the country's voters had cast ballots.
The 80 per cent turn out reported in most parts of the country represented a slight decline from last year's record 92 per cent figure. In Lisbon, more people than usual for a Sunday morning strolled calmly through the city centre.
Before the polling station had opened at eight o'clock in the morning (07.00 GMT), small queues, formed mainly by housewives, gathered outside the stations in central Lisbon. Many people in the city were seen wearing a red carnation in their button-holes. The flower is the symbol of the Young Officers' Revolt, staged two years ago to the day, which overthrew the old dictatorship and led to the free elections.
When he voted in Lisbon, Dr. Mario Soares, the Secretary-General of the Socialist Party, told reporters that the lower turn-out early in the day, meant that the Portuguese were now more experience in voting.
The prime Minister, Admiral Jose Pinheiro de Azevedo, said he welcomed the elections since they were part of the programme of the Armed Forces Movement (MFA), which had staged, the coup in 1974.
Dr. Soares was among the first of the country's political leaders to vote, as was the leader of the Communist Party, Dr. Alvaro Cunhal. They cast their ballots at separate polling centres. Dr. Soares' party is expected to win the most votes, but not enough to enable it to govern alone.
Last year's elections were for an Assembly, which was dissolved last month after a new constitution had been drawn up. The constitution, which came into effect on election day, commits the country to the goals of socialism and workers' power. Sunday's vote was for 263 legislators from whom a new government will be chosen after presidential elections in late June.