Record participation in early voting for Portugal prez polls

Lisbon, Jan 18 : Almost 250,000 people have taken part in the early voting for Portugal’s presidential election scheduled to be held on January 24, according to the Ministry of Internal Administration.

“I see enthusiasm in those almost 250,000 Portuguese who registered for early voting… It means that, in very difficult times, in times when we focus on combating the pandemic, we also have to affirm the values of democracy,” Minister of Internal Administration Eduardo Cabrita told reporters on Sunday.

The presidential election will be completed on January 24, when other qualified voters will be able to vote directly in several places across the country, reports Xinhua news agency.

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Seven candidates, including incumbent President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, are in the running in next Sunday’s poll.

Under Portuguese law, a candidate must receive a majority of votes to be elected.

If no candidate achieves a majority in the first round, a runoff election has to be take place.

The objective of the early voting on Sunday was to avoid large concentrations of people due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry.

Voters have been asked to wear face masks, bring their own pens and disinfect their hands before and after using electoral equipment.

Rebelo de Sousa was elected in January 2016 with 52 per cent of the votes on the first round.

He assumed office on March 9, 2016 and since then, has been in cohabitation with Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

In Portugal, the President is the head of state and has mostly ceremonial powers.

However, the President does have some political influence and can dissolve Parliament if a crisis occurs.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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