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The President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. EFE / EPA / ANTONIO COTRIM / POOL / Archive

Lisbon, Jan 17 (EFE) .- One week before the presidential elections, with the current head of state, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, as a clear favorite, the covid-19 has triggered early voting, so they will attend the ballot boxes placed in the 308 councils of the country 246,880 of the almost 10 million voters.
This is the modality called early voting, which must be registered in advance and that in the last legislative elections of 2019 was only requested by 56,000 people.
Why do we have to go to vote in the midst of a pandemic? Portuguese voters wonder, confined when the pandemic hits the Portuguese country most virulently, with averages of 10,000 daily infections in the last week and record numbers of more than one hundred half of deaths per day.
The response of the rulers has always been the same: they cannot be suspended because the current Constitution of Portugal would have to be modified.
The country’s political scientists agree that the abstention may be the largest in the history of the presidential elections, which are held in this edition for the tenth time since 1976.
With the support of the center-right (PSD and CDS / PP), Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is once again the favorite to win in the first round with more than 50% of the votes, as happened in 2016.
Elections in which the MEP of the Left Bloc (BE) Marisa Matías repeats, who in 2016 obtained 10.1% of the votes
The extreme right also concurs with the candidate André Ventura, who on January 8 received the face-to-face support of the leader of the French extreme right, Marine Le Pen.
The polls, which give a 60% majority to Rebelo de Sousa, suggest that the second place will be disputed between Ventura and the socialist Ana Gomes, although she has not received the explicit support of her party, which governs in Portugal.
The current head of state, a 72-year-old politician, is the clear favorite to continue occupying the residence of the Lisbon Palace in Belem and in the 2016 elections he won 52% of the votes, just over 2.4 million ballots.
This week, Marcelo’s campaign was caught in the ups and downs of the covid-19 tests to which he was subjected.
If last Monday he tested positive, in the following 24 hours he obtained two consecutive negative tests, so Rebelo de Sousa showed his “irritation” at the lack of definition of the Portuguese health authorities about the procedure to follow in cases like yours.
He had to participate in a virtual way in the electoral debates with the rest of the candidates, having no reliable communication on how to act.
Since last Friday, BE MEP Marisa Matías has become the candidate most supported on social networks by politicians, intellectuals and citizens in the face of the attack she suffered by the far-right candidate André Ventura, who criticized her for wearing lips painted red and look like a doll.
Thousands of citizens decided to upload photos of them painting their lips red with the hashtag #VermelhoemBelem to social networks to denounce the attack by the leader of the Chega party.
A wave of indignation added to the journalist and translator Pilar del Río (José Saramago’s widow), who also posted a photo painting her lips.
“Women and men paint our lips as a sign of freedom. In front of the extreme right that has tried to disqualify @mmatias (Maria Matías) for being a woman. People from different parties paint our lips and announce that the color red is beautiful and move forward, “wrote Pilar del Río in her account.
In addition to Rebelo de Sousa, Matías, Gomes and Ventura, Tiago Mayan Gonçalves (Liberal Initiative), Vitorino Silva and the candidate supported by the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) João Ferreira also attend.
If on January 24 no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, a second round will be held between the two most voted candidates on February 14.
The inauguration of the President of Portugal for the period 2021-2026 will take place at the beginning of March.
Carlos Garcia

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