In Portugal campaigning for town hall elections which could bring down the Socialist minority government is entering the final stages.
In Portugal campaigning for town hall elections which could bring down the Socialist minority government is entering the final stages. The poll on 12 December for some 45,000 local government posts is the first free vote for Town Hall officials of more than 50 years. Eleven parties and electoral fronts are contesting the elections.
SYNOPSIS: The Social-Democrat Party (P.S.D.) which staged this rally at the Lisbon sports pavilion is one of the five parties expected to make the most impression on the electorate. It didn't attract much of a crowd - attendance was estimated at only about 1,500. The other main parties are the Socialists, the Communist "United People's Electoral Front", the conservative Centre Democrat Party (C.D.S) and the Popular Unity Movement.
The elections are likely to turn into a vote of confidence on the Socialists performance since they took office last July. They have only 107 of the 263 seats in Parliament, and their attempts to solve the country's drastic economic crisis have been condemned as ineffective by the Right, and harmful to the workers by the Communists.
About a thousand people attended a rally on the same day of the Centre Democrat party at Amadora, a workers area near Lisbon. The C.D.S. could increase the 16 per cent it won in parliamentary elections in April, and the P.S.D. could also make gains, due to a gradual drift to the Right which has been taking place all year. The dominant Socialists are expected to drop a little below their 35 per cent of the parliamentary vote.