- Title: PORTUGAL: Leading candidate Passos Coelho closes his electoral campaign in Lisbon
- Date: 4th June 2011
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUPPORTER, MARIA TERESA, SAYING: "It is the party of the future. With Socrates we do not stand a chance." WIDE OF SUPPORTERS IN WALKABOUT (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUPPORTER, TERESA GUIMARAES, SAYING: "I think, at the moment, it is the best party."
- Embargoed: 19th June 2011 13:00
- Location: Portugal, Portugal
- Country: Portugal
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAC61WBJ1G8FTVYOJNHDRPBE9BQ
- Story Text: Portugal's leading candidate for the premiership, Pedro Passos Coelho, closed his campaign in a walkabout and rally in central Lisbon on Friday (June 3) during which he urged supporters to turn out and vote in a snap election due on June 5.
Surrounded by hundreds of orange flag-waving pundits, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader embarked on a traditional walkabout in central Lisbon, hours after his main rival, Portuguese caretaker Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, held his own walkabout along a similar route.
Some of the supporters following Passos Coelho on his closing campaign felt confident ahead of Sunday's vote.
"It is the party of the future," said Maria Teresa, one of the hundreds of people who turned out to accompany the opposition leader along the route.
Another supporter said it is the only party realistic about Portugal's economic crisis, they key issue ahead of this election.
"This cannot be treated with illusionism. The truth must be spoken, and from the truth move forward," Jose said, who only gave one name.
Passos Coelho's center-right party has a slight advantage in opinion polls.
Socrates, whose minority government collapsed in March after the Social Democrats rejected its latest austerity package, accuses Passos Coelho of having caused the political crisis that exacerbated Portugal's debt woes.
During his campaign, however, Passos Coelho has emphasised there is no room for failure in meeting the austerity conditions of its 78-billion-euro bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Addressing supporters at the closing phase of his campaign, Passos Coelho told supporters that, were he to be prime minister, he can "guarantee that we will fulfill the agreement which was made with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, until the very last line, the last term, and that we will pay back what they asked for in our name, down to the very last Euro."
He has backed the tough conditions of the bailout and could very well end up having to enact its terms if he wins the snap general election.
Passos Coelho said his party is the only option in forming a "strong, cohesive, and coherent" government, urging supporters to turn out at the polls on June 5.
"This vote and this decision is a vote for the PSD," he declared.
Under the bailout agreement, Lisbon will have to carry out steep spending cuts, raise taxes, reform its labour and justice systems, and embark on an ambitious privatisation scheme, which Passos Coelho strongly advocates.
Some opinion polls have briefly given Passos Coelho's party over 45 percent of voting intentions, but it is now back to around 36 percent.
Still, most analysts expect him to win and team up with third-placed rightist CDS-PP to form a majority government. Passos Coelho said on Friday during the Lisbon rally that a coalition with CDS-PP was possible.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None