It would be a thing if Portugal’s previous head of state, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is not elected for a second term this Sunday. Among the seven candidates, the placeholder – a conservative with a heart – is the clear favorite. It is less predictable how a low turnout could affect the result. Almost half of the Portuguese show little or no interest in the vote according to surveys, and many would be in favor of a postponement in view of the pandemic. There is also great frustration in the country about who the corona measures will take and who they will spare, who pays the bill. Nevertheless, Marcelo, as the Portuguese usually call him, should win the matter in the first round like five years ago, especially since the ruling socialists have decided not to compete with him officially.
The current president was born in Lisbon in 1948 and is a good Catholic. His mother was a social worker, the father made it to the governor of the colony of Mozambique and minister of the clerical-fascist Salazar regime. A model student in his youth, Marcelo completed a law degree at the University of Lisbon from 1966 to 1971. A decade after the Carnation Revolution of 1974, he received a doctorate in legal and political science. He completed his habilitation in the same field in 1990. The constitutional lawyer is also a distinguished journalist, wrote on political and social topics for renowned magazines and worked as a commentator for radio and television. His political career began in opposition circles and after Portugal’s return to democracy led him to the right-wing liberal PSD and in 1975 to the Constituent Assembly. From 1996-1999 he headed the party, 1997-1999 he was Vice-President of the European People’s Party. As an intellectual widely respected, he is criticized from the left for being bipartisan, but in practice, for example on budget issues, to promote a block of socialists and the center-right. Peter Steiniger