Portuguese President wins second term

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has won a second term as Portugal’s president with almost 61% of the vote marked by record abstention, the country’s electoral commission announced on Sunday. 

“Democracy was not defeated by the pandemic,” the 72-year-old former leader of the Social Democratic Party said in his victory speech, adding that “The most urgent of tasks is to combat the pandemic. This is my priority, in total solidarity with parliament and government.”

Among other presidential candidates were Ana Gomes an independent candidate with a socialist background, who took almost 13% of the votes and came second, followed by Andre Ventura, the far-right candidate of the Chega party. Joao Ferreira from the communist party and Marisa Matias, MEP of the Left, gathered 4.32% and 3.95% correspondingly. 

The elections in Portugal came amid one of the worst moments for the country, which is recording among the highest rates of infections worldwide. Given its relatively small population of 10 million, the country reported on Sunday a record 11,721 cases and 275 deaths. 

Although some Coronavirus restrictions were eased for the elections, turnout was extremely low, partly because 1.1 million voters from abroad were added to the electoral register for the first time and due to many people being in quarantine.