With about one-tenth of the votes counted in the Portuguese presidential election, Army Chief of Staff General Antonio Ramalho Eanes backed by the three main parties had taken a big lead on Sunday night.
With about one-tenth of the votes counted in the Portuguese presidential election, Army Chief of Staff General Antonio Ramalho Eanes backed by the three main parties had taken a big lead on Sunday night. But observers were cautious in drawing conclusions from these early returns since voting trends varied widely from region to region.
SYNOPSIS: The turnout of voters was about 73 per cent, 10 per cent less than in the April parliamentary vote. When communist party leader Alvaro Cunhal arrived at his polling station, he was in good spirits although he agreed with opinion polls that his party would probably get less than ten per cent of the votes cast. According to Portuguese law, if no candidate wins an absolute majority, the two who win the most votes fight a second round, The presidential election is the final stage in building a new democratic regime after the military coup in 1974.
In the early returns, the Communist candidate Octavio Pato had scored about half of what his party scored in April's parliamentary election.
General Eanes, more than likely to be the new President, has promised to restore law and order after two years of troubled transition from dictatorship. He has also guaranteed democracy. In the district where he voted, he had almost 90 per cent of the poll. But on his way to vote, he was confronted by about 100 demonstrators calling him a fascist. The demonstrators were supporters of radical left-wing Major Otelo Carvalho whose brief military rebellion last year was put down by General Eanes.