About 50,000 people made their way-many of them in huge processions-to the Antas Stadium in Oporto, Portugal,to attend a mass election rally organised by the country's Communist Party on Saturday (19 April).
About 50,000 people made their way-many of them in huge processions-to the Antas Stadium in Oporto, Portugal,to attend a mass election rally organised by the country's Communist Party on Saturday (19 April). The meeting was addressed by the Secretary General of the party, Dr. Alvaro Cunhal.
He accused the rival parties in the election campaign-particularly the Socialists and the Popular Democrats-of waging an anti-Communist campaign.
The General Election-Portugal's first for nearly half a century-will take place on Friday (25 April), but it is not expected to have an immediate impact on the country's political destiny. The three major crises that taken place in the country since the overthrow of the old right-wing dictatorship last year, have dashed hopes for a parliamentary democracy for the time being.
All fundamental decisions for at least the next three to five years will be taken by the 29 officers of the Military Revolutionary Council, who assumed supreme power after last month's abortive right-wing coup. Nevertheless, most people in Portugal will be casting their votes for the first time in their lives.
The Military Revolutionary Council has put pressure on the main political parties to sign an agreement guaranteeing in advance that the constitution for the country which is to be drawn up, will include acceptance of the Council's right to govern temporarily.
The 247 deputies who will be chosen on Friday - the first anniversary of last year's coup-will be selected to an Assembly with the task of drawing up the constitution. Since the Council has already laid down detailed guidelines for what should appear in the constitution, the question of which party gains the most seats should be of little direct importance.
Nevertheless, the twelve participating parties are still going ahead vigorously with their canvassing. Millions ??? words reach the public each day through rallies, television and radio addresses, newspapers and will posters.
Although the Communist Party will probably win a smaller share of the vote than the major parties to the right of them, they are still well placed. They now have the powerful backing of the Armed Forces and the media for their doctrine that the electoral process should be subordinate to revolution. Their immediate aim is to continue discreetly influencing the country's political course by operating within a broad front of "progressive" forces. Their leaders say they can see no time in the future when the Communist Party would ever rule Portugal on its own.