Portugal's general elections are not due to be held until November, but already one of the main contenders, the Communist Party, has begun its run-up to the poll.
Portugal's general elections are not due to be held until November, but already one of the main contenders, the Communist Party, has begun its run-up to the poll. Last weekend (7 -9 September) it held a massive festival in Lisbon which attracted large numbers of peoples.
SYNOPSIS: Thousand of Communist supporters took to the streets of Lisbon on Sunday (9 September) for their party's annual festival.
Focal point for the demonstrators was a park on the city's outskirts, where throughout the weekend Communist parties of different nations had gathered to exhibit. Most of these were from Communist-blac countries, and included East Germany, Romania, Vietnam, the Soviet Union and Angola. Their presence lend support to the Portuguese Communist Party's early campaign to win votes in this November's general election. At present, the Communists hold only forty seat s in Portugal's 263-seat Parliament -- despite their acknowledged high level of popular support and internal organisation. Their strongest following is in the southern grain belt of Alentejo province -- scene of many Communist land reforms and collective farms.
Leading the Communists into the November elections is Party Chief, Alvaro Cunhal, who was warmly received at the Lisbon rally. Addressing a crowd of several thousand supporters, Mr. Cunhal said he was confident that the Communists would improve on their present standing in Parliament. Many people who had voted for the rival Socialist Party, which holds 101 Parliamentary seats, would come over to the Communists in November, he said. Both Socialists and Communists however, will face a strong challenge at the elections from the Portuguese right-wing parties, the Social Democrats, the Centre Democrats and the Popular Monarchists -- all of whom have signed an agreement to fight under one banner in November.