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Politics and government of
The Portuguese presidential election were held on 22 January 2006 to elect a successor to the incumbent President Jorge Sampaio, who was term-limited from running for a third consecutive term by the Constitution of Portugal. The result was a victory in the first round for Aníbal Cavaco Silva of the Social Democratic Party candidate, the former Prime Minister, won 50.54 percent of the vote in the first round, just over the majority required to avoid a runoff election. Voter turnout was 61.53 percent for eligible voters.
Any Portuguese citizen over 35 years old has the opportunity to run for president. In order to do so it is necessary to gather between 7500 and 15000 signatures and submit them to the Portuguese Constitutional Court.
According to the Portuguese Constitution, to be elected, a candidate needs a majority (50% + 1). If no candidate gets this majority there will take place a second round between the two most voted candidates.
In the presidential election of 14 January 2001, the outgoing Socialist Jorge Sampaio was reelected in the first round with 55% of votes. Because he was term-limited, he was forbidden, by the Constitution, to run for a third consecutive term.
In the parliamentary elections of February 20, 2005, the Socialist Party, led by José Sócrates, won for the first time in its history an absolute majority of seats, while the Social Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes fell below 30%, their worst result since 1983.
To cope with the bad fiscal situation, the government introduced a policy of fiscal restraint, combining higher taxes, lower public treatments and privatization. This policies were not popular and as a result, the Socialists were defeated in the local elections on 9 October 2005. In the follow up for the presidential elections, the Socialists decided to nominate their former general secretary, Mário Soares, President of the Republic between 1986 and 1996. This decision divided the party, which led Manuel Alegre, a member of the party parliamentary group, to announce his candidacy as an independent. The Social Democrats opted to support their former leader Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Prime Minister from 1985 to 1995, and presidential candidate defeated in 1996.
Thirteen citizens sought election officially, but only six gathered the 7,500 signatures required under the constitution to be a candidate in the poll:
- Manuel Alegre, a Socialist Party politician who ran without the official backing of his party;
- Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Prime Minister from 1985 to 1995, supported by the Social Democratic Party and by the People's Party;
- Francisco Louçã, coordinator of the political commission of the Left Bloc;
- Garcia Pereira, Secretary-General of the PCTP/MRPP;
- Mário Soares, President from 1986 to 1996, the official candidate of the Socialist Party; and
- Jerónimo de Sousa, Secretary-General of the Portuguese Communist Party, also supported by the Ecologist Party "The Greens".
All the candidates except for Cavaco Silva are considered to be from the Portuguese political left.
The other potential candidates who, according to the Constitutional Court, did not gather enough signatures, were:
- Josué Rodrigues Gonçalo Pedro;
- Luís Filipe Guerra, leader of the Humanist Party;
- Teresa Lameiro;
- Manuela Magno, nuclear physicist;
- Carmelinda Pereira, leader of the Workers Party of Socialist Unity;
- Luís Botelho Ribeiro; and
- Diamantino da Silva;
|Candidates||Supporting parties||First round|
|Aníbal Cavaco Silva||Social Democratic Party, People's Party||2,773,431||50.54|
|Mário Soares||Socialist Party||785,355||14.31|
|Jerónimo de Sousa||Portuguese Communist Party, Ecologist Party "The Greens"||474,083||8.64|
|Francisco Louçã||Left Bloc||292,198||5.32|
|António Garcia Pereira||PCTP/MRPP||23,983||0.44|
|Total (turnout 61.53%)||5,590,132|
|Source: Comissão Nacional de Eleições|
- Portuguese Electoral Commission
- Official results site, Portuguese Justice Ministry
- NSD: European Election Database - Portugal publishes regional level election data; allows for comparisons of election results, 1990–2010