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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Portugal to vote for president as infections rise

Duration: 01:28s 0 shares 1 views
Portugal to vote for president as infections rise
Portugal to vote for president as infections rise

Portuguese voters - largely confined to their homes due to a strict COVID-19 lockdown - will pick a new president on Sunday (January 24), but some fear going to the polls could worsen a surge in coronavirus cases.

Edward Baran reports.

Portuguese voters - largely confined to their homes due to a strict COVID-19 lockdown - will pick a new president on Sunday (January 24).

But some fear going to the polls could worsen a surge in coronavirus cases, and low turnout is expected.

The country of 10 million people, which fared better than others in the first wave of the pandemic, now has the world's highest seven-day rolling average of new cases and deaths per million people.

Almost two-thirds of voters think the election should be postponed - that's according to a recent poll.

This man says he doesn't expect many voters to turn out.

And this woman says if you can only leave home to go to work, you shouldn't also be able to go to the polling station.

Delaying the ballot would have required changing the country's constitution - something officials said was not possible at such short notice.

But there has been widespread criticism of the decision to press ahead with the vote for the largely ceremonial president.

Pollsters expect record-high abstentions.

Voluntary teams clad in protective gear are collecting ballots at the doorsteps of some 13,000 quarantined voters, and about 250,000 people have registered for early voting to avoid crowds.

Opinion polls show that the incumbent, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of the centre-right Social Democratic Party, is likely to easily win re-election.

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