Former conservative PM is Portugal's new president

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 23, 2006 00:46

 
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Former conservative prime minister Anibal Cavaco Silva won Portugal's presidential election Sunday. Cavaco Silva, a reform-minded economist who has pledged to help lead the country out of a slump, collected 50.6 percent of the votes cast, according to official results. His nearest rival, leftist lawmaker Manuel Alegre, gathered 20.7%. Cavaco Silva defeated five leftist candidates to become the first right-of-center politician elected president in Portugal since a 1974 Revolution introduced democracy. The head of state holds no executive power, which lies with the government, but wields considerable influence. He has vowed to ensure political stability after a recent unsettled period which has brought four prime ministers in four years and recently saw four finance ministers in 12 months. Like the government, Cavaco Silva backs deeper European Union integration and wants the United Nations to take the lead in resolving international disputes.

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