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Portugal: 'Every vote will count' insists electoral commission after Chega claim

Photo by Element5 Digital at Unsplash

Portugal's National Electoral Commission (CNE) stressed on Tuesday that each voter's ballot cast in next Sunday's legislative elections "will count exactly as they chose" - recalling that in 50 years of democracy, no electoral result has been contested overall.

"The CNE guarantees that every citizen's vote will count exactly as they have chosen," said the CNE, which is charged with overseeing all voter registration and electoral operations in Portugal.

The commission said that it had made the statement five days before the election to choose the 230 members of parliament to respond to "questions and comments that have come to light about the operation of polling stations."

In this regard, the CNE stressed that staff at polling stations are made up of citizens nominated by all the parties or coalitions running in the election and that it intervenes whenever it becomes aware of situations in which plurality in the composition of polling stations is not guaranteed.

"Each candidate also has the right to appoint a delegate to supervise the work of the polling stations," explained the commission, stressing that Portugal's electoral system "is characterised by broad participation by parties and citizens, which is the greatest guarantee of the integrity and fairness of each election.

"These characteristics are the ultimate reason why, in the 50 years we have lived in a democracy, no electoral result has been globally contested," th CNE statement continues. "And, as far as can be anticipated, there is no known reason why today should be any different."

On Monday, the leader of the far-right Chega party, André Ventura, called on CNE spokesman Fernando Anastácio to resign, claiming that he "lied to the Portuguese" when he said he had received no complaints about the possibility of the electoral process being distorted.

The previous Saturday night, Ventura had claimed that an attempt was being made to "distort the result" of the elections by "cancelling the votes" of his party.

On Sunday, Ventura reiterated those suspicions, citing a social media post by an individual who would be serving at a polling station in Aveiro to the effect that he was preparing to annul votes for Chega.

The Left Bloc (BE), which had nominated the individual in question, condemned what it said was no more than a "joke in bad taste" and urged him to ask to be relieved of his duties - which happened before Ventura made his claim.

More than 10.8 million Portuguese are registered to vote on Sunday, with 18 lists of candidates - 15 of them parties and three coalitions - available to vote for in these elections.



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