Portugal's presidential election campaign entered its final stages this week, with all candidates wooing the voters at mass rallies in Lisbon and surrounding areas.
Portugal's presidential election campaign entered its final stages this week, with all candidates wooing the voters at mass rallies in Lisbon and surrounding areas. However, there is now doubt that the Prime Minister, Jose Pinh???iro de Azvedo, will be well enough to contest the polls, following a heart attack on the way to a rally in Lisbon on Wednesday (23 June). His campaign committee says he will still be a candidate, but doctors say he is in a serious condition and that his life is in danger.
SYNOPSIS: But left-wing candidate Major Otello Carvalho was fit and well as he toured the city, whipping up support. The flamboyant Otello - as he is popularly known - only entered the presidential race a month ago, though his candidature was greeted with jubilation by Marxist workers and military groups. The 41-year-old major has had a colourful career and last January was arrested for his alleged part in the radical military uprising the previous November. He was demoted from general and spent two months in military confinement. But he was freed, with no charges against him, to compete the poll on June 27.
And as he spoke to supporters in the working class suburb of Pedroucos this week it was obvious he had lost non of his charisma. Many newsmen in Portugal see Otello's entry into the race as an embarrassment to the communist candidate O???tavio Pato and as robbing the main military candidate General Antonio Eanes of some of his left-wing support.
But the question remains - can a radical populist such as Otello convince enough voters that he is presidential material in a nation only beginning a democratic system after nearly half a century of dictatorship?