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Ban football, the cure for which people go to vote in Portugal

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Ban football, the cure for which people go to vote in Portugal

The Government, in its fight to curb absenteeism, will submit a draft law to which parties do not coincide with electoral rounds

The local elections of October 1, coincides with 'classic' Sporting vs Porto

The Portuguese League ensures that competitions are "priority"

Portugal has a problem with electoral abstention. The political participation of lusos has declined consistently since arrival of democracy to neighbouring country after Carnation Revolution in 1975, and in last few election cycles absence of voters has come to be scandalous. Just 5 of 9.7 million of electors Portuguese voted in last general elections, and more than half of those eligible to vote opted to stay at home when it held presidential election in 2016. Experts point out that increase of abstention is due to growing disillusionment with democratic system: in considering your vote, just same, for many Portuguese any distraction serves as an excuse to not go to polls.

The next October 1, day in which will take place municipal elections in neighbouring country, no shortage of distractions for voters less enthusiastic. On same day that y are called to polls will be held four football matches. The most important of m is classic Portuguese, which will face Sporting Lisbon against dragons of F. C. Porto at Stadium of Alvalade, but re will also be matches in Braga against Estoril, Maritime against Benfica, and Belenenses against Victória de Guimarães.

With big three -Sporting, Benfica and Porto - while playing on same day, National Commission of Elections (CNE) is given by fact that abstention will be high, perhaps even historic. "This situation boosts absenteeism of a large number of voters-not to mention professionals such as footballers, ir coaches and directors of equipment - moving out of ir regular residences to come to party", explains agency through a press release.

to End distractions

In an attempt to promote civic responsibility of electorate Portuguese, this Monday Government of socialist António Costa has announced that it will present a bill to ban football matches in days of election, with goal of ending distractions of sports that may affect electoral participation in future.

"we Want to support CNE, and support your recommendations with full force of law", said secretary of State of Youth and Sports, luso, João Paulo Rebelo, in an interview at chain's radio TSF. "We want to legislate to prevent sporting events never return to coincide with referendum and elections".

Rebelo agree that it will be impossible to implement this legislation before upcoming elections of October 1, but ensures that Executive is determined to pass it so that wher valid for next elections, presumably general elections of 2019. "We have to limit everything that could distract citizens, and this Government is determined to legislate to ensure this situation is never again repeated."

The Portuguese League Football is defended

The Portuguese League for Professional Football (LPFP) has denied that any responsibility for electoral abstention, and through a letter addressed to CNE has ensured that celebration of parties in election held 1 October was required due to participation of a number of teams in european competitions and several players in ir respective national teams.

"The celebration of se parties on 1st of October is a matter of urgency because of involvement of teams Portuguese in competitions during week previous to this date, need for a break of at least 72 hours between each party, and obligation to release certain players are called to play integrated into ir national teams". The LPFP is showed critical of position of electoral body, suggesting that it was too paternalistic, and he claimed to have "absolute confidence that Portuguese have full notion of your duties and civic responsibilities".

"An insult to Portuguese,"

In political field, opposition to proposal of Government has been emphatic. Luís Marques Guedes, a member of conservative Social Democratic Party, declared before media lusos that initiative was "a misdirect and an insult to all Portuguese, as it attempts to infantilizarles".

"The maturity of lusos after 40 years of democracy, is more than enough for m to be able to organize your life and exercise your right to vote freely. They know how to distinguish importance of playful activities of exercise of a fundamental right. is What more do we want to ban? does it Also close to cinemas, atres, museums and shopping centres in electoral rounds?".

With a tone less severe, representatives of political parties related to Executive have also criticized initiative, insisting that it has to respect free will of electors.

Catarina Martins, coordinator of Left Block, stated that "it is not decision more advisable or sensible". For its part, Jerónimo de Sousa, general secretary of communist lusos, said that "it is necessary to rely on electors Portuguese". "You have to have-and we have - absolute confidence that Portuguese will vote on 1st of October."

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