One of Portugal's leading political figures has accused the government of trying to prolong the role of the armed forces in political affairs.
One of Portugal's leading political figures has accused the government of trying to prolong the role of the armed forces in political affairs. Doctor Francisco Sa Carneiro, founder and former president of the centre-right Social Democratic party, was speaking at a rally in Lisbon on Sunday (21 May).
SYNOPSIS: About 8,000 people attended the rally, in Lisbon bullring, to mark the fourth anniversary of the Social Democratic Party's foundation. The Social Democrats are Portugal's second largest Political party, and power is held by the socialists. Doctor Sa Carneiro told people at the rally to be on their guard against what he termed subtle attempts to instal a new dictatorship in Portugal. The Social Democrats have been leaderless since last November when doctor Sa Carneiro resigned because the party refused to take a stronger line against the socialist government.
The former Social Democrat leader accused the Portuguese President, Antonio, Ramalho Eanes, of siding with the socialists and attempting to impose "presidential militarism" on the country. Doctor Sa Carneiro's speech was followed by dancing and other entertainment. Later rockets were let off. Participants called on their former leader to assume the party's presidency again. But only this month, he said Social Democrats were still too factionalised for him to lead them.