Friday, January 27, 2006

Presidential elections in Portugal

This picture of the candidates must have taken guts ;-)

I have followed the local presidential elections with some interest. In reality the Portuguese president has few real powers. He has power to dissolve parliament and a weak power of vetoing laws and little else. But he is the head of state and has an important symbolic power.

My favorite, Cavaco Silva, won the elections. I like him because he seems a serious guy and has proven his capabilities as prime minister for 10 years. Not that I agree with all his political ideas at all, but at least he has once proven to have leadership qualities.

He is an economics professor and that Portugal needs! Also the first right wing democratic elected president of Portugal ever.

This election was a message to the politicians. Party supported candidates were rejected. Politicians in Portugal are rightly ill perceived. An independent candidate came in as number two with over 20% of the vote. His name is Manuel Alegre and seems to be a man of integrity.

Finally I detested one of the alternative candidates who came in as third: Mario Soares. Once I highly respected him, even not agreeing with his political ideas. A founder of the socialist party. An adversary of the dictatorship. Ex-prime minister and Ex-president. An intellectual of importance.

But then I followed his political campaign and read his political commentaries of the last years. I think his true nature matches the dirty campaign he has led. I no longer think of him as an honest man. Also I now understand how his son is the way he is. Arrogant and a dirty campaigner as well - followed by scandals. Obviously the apple has not fallen far from the tree. Maybe people who know Mr. Soares better than I will state that he was different in his younger days. So I hope. A pity he now has lost the fame of a statesman.

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