In spite of an atmosphere of violence and wide spread strikes, the Portuguese Interior Ministry has announced that campaigning will begin for the first elections in Portugal for half a century.
(MUTE SV Armoured car and soldier in Lisbon street. (4 shots)
GV EXT. Interior Ministry Building.
SV Interior Minister speaking in Portuguese and announcing elections.
Initials VS 2.30 VS 2.40
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In spite of an atmosphere of violence and wide spread strikes, the Portuguese Interior Ministry has announced that campaigning will begin for the first elections in Portugal for half a century.
Interior Minister Commander Almeida e Costa, confirmed in an announcement on Friday (16 January) that polling day will be 25 April, the second anniversary of the coup which overthrew the dictatorship.
Portugal's military rulers have acceded to civilian demands that the President be elected by universal suffrage, but apparently they intend to remain in the forefront of Portuguese politics.
The country's five civilian parties put forward their plans for a constitutional pact over two weeks ago to replace the pact signed under pressure last April when the Military Revolutionary Council was dominated by leftwingers. The old pact subordinated parties to military rule for three to five years.
Each of the five parties involved --- the Socialists, the Popular Democrats (PPD) the Communists, the Portuguese Democratic Movement (MPD) and the Centre Democrats (CDS) -- is due to meet the council separately next week to discuss counter proposals.