Portugal holds presidential election as COVID-19 circumstances spiral By Reuters

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© Reuters. Preparations for Portugal’s presidential election amid pandemic peak, in Lisbon

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By Victoria Waldersee

LISBON (Reuters) – Portuguese voters – largely confined to their houses as a result of a strict COVID-19 lockdown – will choose a brand new president on Sunday, however many concern going to the polls might worsen a surge in coronavirus circumstances and low turnout is predicted.

The nation of 10 million folks, which fared higher than others within the first wave of the pandemic, now has the world’s highest seven-day rolling common of latest circumstances and deaths per million folks.

“It would not have been an issue to attend one other month. Distinctive occasions name for distinctive measures,” mentioned Lisbon resident Miguel Goncalves, 55.

Nearly two-thirds of voters suppose the election ought to be postponed, a ballot by analysis institute ISC/ISCTE confirmed final week.

Delaying the poll would have required altering the nation’s structure – one thing officers mentioned was not potential at such brief discover, however there was widespread criticism of the choice to press forward with the vote for the largely ceremonial president.

“They need to have unfold voting over extra days,” political scientist Joao Cancela of IPRE-NOVA College mentioned. “It is a mistake to suppose the one choices had been to delay or preserve as is.”

Voting is the one motive persons are permitted to go away dwelling for something aside from important work or journeys below the present nationwide lockdown guidelines.

Pollsters count on record-high abstentions, whilst voluntary groups clad in protecting gear collected ballots on the doorstep of some 13,000 quarantined voters, and about 250,000 folks registered for early voting to keep away from crowds.

“We’re now going through a double-edged threat – excessive abstentions, and the truth that those that do end up will probably be outdoors their houses,” opposition chief Rui Rio mentioned.

Opinion polls present that the incumbent, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of the centre-right Social Democratic Occasion, is more likely to simply win re-election, with left-wing candidate Ana Gomes forecast in second at 13.5-14.5% and the chief of far-right celebration Chega Andre Ventura shut behind at 10-12.5%.

Regardless of their primarily ceremonial position, presidents can veto sure legal guidelines and decree states of emergency.

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