The 72-year-old conservative politician came to around 61 percent in the presidential election on Sunday, as the national electoral authority announced after counting more than 99 percent of the votes.
The former law professor and TV journalist got nine percentage points more than in his first victory five years ago. With an absolute majority, he avoided a round on February 14th.
A lot of power in Portugal
The president can both veto laws and dissolve parliament and call new elections. For Portugal it was the tenth presidential election since the Carnation Revolution of 1974.
The candidate Ana Gomes from the Socialist Party (PS) of Prime Minister António Costa landed this time with a good 12.7 percent, far behind in second place. However, she had not enjoyed the support of her party, as Costa got on very well politically with Rebelo de Sousa.
The third-placed head of the right-wing populist Chega! (It’s enough!), André Ventura, achieved an unexpectedly good result with just under 11.9 percent.
High numbers of Covid infections
The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days was recently around 750. This is one of the highest values in the world.
Because of the pandemic, numerous politicians and other celebrities had called for the election to be postponed. In a survey commissioned by the weekly newspaper “Expresso”, 57 percent of the participants were in favor of a relocation.
Voter turnout was only 40 percent
Many voters probably stayed at home for fear of the virus: According to preliminary official figures, voter turnout of almost 40 percent was well below the previous record low, which was recorded in the presidential election of 2011 with 46.5 percent.
Rebelo de Sousa, who has been in office since 2016, is considered an extremely close to the people politician who, as head of state, likes to hug, kiss and comfort people on the street. Sometimes he also appears as an active helper: last August, the wiry Catholic in the Algarve rushed into the sea to help rescue two women whose kayak had capsized.
Conservative politician supports left government
But it is not just such actions that give Rebelo de Sousa recognition and prestige. He is also highly credited for not only criticizing and controlling the left-wing government of Prime Minister António Costa as a conservative politician, but also supporting it. He attaches great importance to the country’s political stability.
The cooperation between Rebelo and Costa, including the declaration and design of the Corona state of emergency, has worked almost smoothly so far.
The country of emigration, which also recorded a loss of hundreds of thousands of citizens during the euro crisis a few years ago, therefore has more voters than inhabitants (approx. 10.3 million).