• Short Summary

    Portugal's second general elections to Parliament since the April 1974 revolution are being contested by fourteen parties.

  • Description

    Portugal's second general elections to Parliament since the April 1974 revolution are being contested by fourteen parties. President Antonio Ramalho Eanes decided to call elections a year earlier than scheduled after trying various formulas to obtain majority Parliamentary approval for a government. The present Government headed by Portugal's first woman Prime Minister Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo is ruling in a caretaker capacity. Some of the major parties are holding large rallies as part of their election campaign.

    SYNOPSIS: The Alliance of right-wing parties is one of the strong contenders in the elections. The rally to open the Democratic Alliance's campaign, held in Oporto, attracted support from politicians from other countries, including Sir Duncan Sandys from the United Kingdom.

    The Democratic Alliance Links the centre-right Social Democrats (PSD), the Conservative Centre Democrats (CDS) and the small Monarchist Party (PPM). The Alliance has pledged to modify policies introduced after the 1974 revolution, such as agrarian reforms an the nationalisation of key industries. The return of collectivised land to private owners wold be accelerated, Portugal's entry to the EEC (European Economic Community) would be speeded up, and the alliance promises to offer higher incentives to foreign investors.

    The Social Democrat leader Dr Francisco Sa Carneiro says the alliance would only agree to govern if it wins a clear majority; there would be no negotiations with the Socialist party in none of the contenders win a firm mandate.

    When the Portuguese Communist Party launched its campaign, the walls of Lisbon took on a new layer of party campaign posters and paintings. The Communists also held a large rally in Lisbon to promote their policies.

    Tens of thousands of supporters packed a Lisbon stadium. The United people's Alliance (APU) is an electoral front formed between the Communists and the pro-Communist Portuguese Democratic Movement (MDP). The alliance does not include the Socialists, who have refused to take part in pre-election deals.

    The Communist Party leader Alvaro Cunhal called for the defeat of right-wing forces, which he calls `reactionary' and a threat to Portuguese democracy.

    The Socialists of former Prime Minister Mario Soares have said they will concentrate on a door-to-door campaign rather than hold mass rallies. Observers believe that all three main contenders face a difficult challenge to secure a clear majority.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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