Portuguese voters - largely confined with their homes because of a strict COVID-19 lockdown - will select a new president on Sunday, but many fear going to the polls may worsen a surge on coronavirus conditions and low turnout is normally expected.
The united states of 10 million people, which fared much better than others in the first wave of the pandemic, now gets the world's highest seven-time rolling average of new cases and deaths per million people.
"It wouldn't have already been a problem to hold back another month. Exceptional instances call for exceptional methods," explained Lisbon resident Miguel Goncalves, 55.
Almost two-thirds of voters think the election should be postponed, a poll by research institute ISC/ISCTE showed last week. Delaying the ballot could have required changing the country's constitution - something officials said had not been possible at such brief notice, but there has been widespread criticism of your choice to press in advance with the vote for the largely ceremonial president.
"They should have pass on voting over more times," political scientist Joao Cancela of IPRE-NOVA University said. "It's a mistake to believe the only options were to delay or retain as is." Voting may be the only reason persons are permitted to set off for anything apart from essential work or excursions beneath the current nationwide lockdown rules.
Pollsters expect record-large abstentions, even as voluntary teams clad in protective equipment collected ballots in the doorstep of some 13,000 quarantined voters, and about 250,000 persons registered for early voting in order to avoid crowds.
"We're today facing a double-edged risk - high abstentions, and the fact that those that do come out will be exterior their homes," opposition innovator Rui Rio said.
Opinion polls exhibit that the incumbent, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of the centre-right Public Democratic Party, will probably easily win re-election, with left-wing prospect Ana Gomes forecast found in second in 13.5-14.5% and the first choice of far-right get together Chega Andre Ventura close behind at 10-12.5%.
Despite their mainly ceremonial purpose, presidents can veto specific regulations and decree states of unexpected emergency.