Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has started his second term as head of state, promising “good use of European funds, with good management” of financial resources to help the country’s post-pandemic recovery.

Addressing Parliament on Tuesday, he said that his mission will be to end fear, “restore the confidence of the Portuguese people” and restore the “balance of health services”, reports Xinhua news agency.

Rebelo de Sousa was re-elected President in the January 24 general elections with 60.67 per cent of the vote.

In his oath of office, Rebelo de Sousa pledged to “defend, comply and enforce the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic”.

Portugal was experiencing “economic growth” and was on the “path of balanced public accounts until the arrival of the pandemic, in a devastating year”, which also caused a “social and economic pandemic”, he said.

“The reasons for the solemn commitment that I have just made are that they need it most — the homeless, without decent housing, the retired poor, unemployed or on layoff, the precarious workers and entrepreneurs.”

Rebelo de Sousa also spoke for the first time about reopening the country, which has been under a general lockdown since January 15, stating that it will be done “with wisdom and success”.

The second priority of his new mandate is to “reduce the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, expand vaccination and increase testing”.

“May the next five years be more a reason for hope than disappointment, it is our dream and it is our purpose after a year that has brought so much mourning, so much sacrifice, so much loneliness,” he said.

–IANS

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