Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won Presidential Election of Portugal

Jan 25, 2016 12:00 IST

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on 24 January 2016 won the Presidential election of Portugal. Sousa, a centre-right Social Democrats candidate and a former journalist, won the election by securing 52 percent of votes.

The outcome is likely to help maintain political balance after the inconclusive parliamentary ballot in October 2015.

His closest rival, Socialist Antonio Sampaio da Novoa, conceded defeat after picking up around 23 percent of the vote. Left Bloc candidate Marisa Matias had 10 percent.


Sousa, popularly known as ‘Professor Marcelo’ and aged 67 is the one-time leader of the center-right Social democrats. He will succeed President Anibal Cavaco Silva.

Earlier in October 2015 presidential election, a centre-right coalition won the most votes but lost its overall majority in November 2015. It was replaced by an alliance of left-wing parties that rejected its austerity programme in parliament.

Presidential Election in Portugal
Under the Portuguese Constitution adopted in 1976, in the wake of the 1974 Carnation Revolution, the form of government is ‘semi-presidential’ system. That is, president though is a ceremonial figure in Portugal but he plays an important role at times of political uncertainty. He has the power to dissolve parliament and remove the prime minister.

The President is elected for a five-year term and there is no limit to the number of terms a president may serve. However, a president who serves two consecutive terms may not serve again in the next five years after the second term finishes or in the following five years after his resignation. The official residence of the Portuguese President is the Belem Palace.

The President is elected in a two-round system: if no candidate reaches 50% of the votes during the first round, the two candidates with the most votes face each other in a second round held two weeks later. However, the second round has only been needed once, during the 1986 presidential election.

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