Portugal's presidential election campaign closed on Friday (25 June), with one of the favourite contenders, Prime Minister Jose Pinheiro de Azevedo, rallying after a severe heart attack.
Portugal's presidential election campaign closed on Friday (25 June), with one of the favourite contenders, Prime Minister Jose Pinheiro de Azevedo, rallying after a severe heart attack. His plight has increased the chances of the Army Chief of Staff, General Antonio Ramalho Eanes. He and the Communist Party candidate, Octavio Pato, held rallies in Lisbon on Thursday night (24 June).
SYNOPSIS: It's Portugal's first free election for a president for about 50 years. The campaign has been bitter at times, but General Eanes has emerged now as the clear favourite. He's 41 years old and only six months ago was still an obscure Lieutenant-Colonel. He's backed by Portugal's three main parties, the Socialists, Centre Popular Democrats and Conservative Centre Democrats. General Eanes was appointed Chief of Staff of the Army after organising the suppression of a left-wing uprising last November.
The Secretary-General of the Communist Party, Alvaro Cunhal, addressed the rally in support of their candidate on Thursday. The Communists are clearly hoping that their more clear cut political stance will attract Socialist Party voters. Their candidate is Octavio Pato and observers say he has virtually no chance of winning. There was speculation that he would stand down as a candidate, but he rejected this.