With only two days to go before the national local elections on Sunday (12 December), campaigning is in the final stages.
GV EXTERIOR Building in Lisbon
GV INTERIOR Crowd at United People's Electoral Front rally
CU PAN FROM Election flag TO Joao de Freitas Branco speaking and delegates listening (3 shots)
GV PAN Crowd shouting and applauding (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR International fair pavilion with Socialist flag outside
TV INTERIOR Socialists chanting
CU Soares speaking
TV Crowd cheering
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: With only two days to go before the national local elections on Sunday (12 December), campaigning is in the final stages.
SYNOPSIS: Eleven parties are contesting the elections, the first free vote for town hall officials for over 50 years.
In Lisbon a crowd estimated at 10,000 attended a rally of the Communist "United People's Electoral Front" on Wednesday (8 December). The speaker was Senhor Joao de Freitas Branco, the country's prominent conductor, who's running for a seat in Lisbon's town hall.
As the Socialists are expected to drop a little below the 35 per cent they won in parliamentary elections last April -- the Communists are tipped to double the poor seven per cent they scored in last June's presidential election. But the Socialists leader Dr Mario Soares said a municipal coalition with the Communists was impossible because of their anti-democratic manoeuvres.
The Socialists are rejecting the possibility of an alliance with parties either to the right or left of them.
But Premier Soares addressing a crowd estimated at 5,000 at a rally in Lisbon on Wednesday (8 December) said his party will not try to rule against the will of the people. The remark is seen as an indication that the local government poll could have a wider national impact.
The Socialists are hoping the elections will turn into a vote of confidence on their performance since they took office last July. Their attempts to solve the country's economic crisis have been condemned as ineffective by the right and harmful to the workers by the Communists.