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Portugal Follows Germany to Right

Although South America is clearly trending to the left after recent elections in Chile and Bolivia, Western Europe may be moving in the opposite direction. A few months after Germany turned out the Social Democratic government in favor of a coalition led by conservative Angela Merkel, Portugal has just elected its first right-of-center president since it moved from dictatorship to democracy in 1974.

In dramatic results, former Prime Minister (1985-95) and staunch conservative Anibal Cavaco Silva topped a six-candidate race for president of Portugal yesterday, winning 51% of the vote over five opponents who were clearly to his left. Under Cavaco Silva’s decade-long government, Portugal instituted dramatic free market reforms that effectively modernized its economy to where annual economic growth reached 5%. Although the position of president is largely ceremonial and Portugal’s present government is under a socialist prime minister, Cavaco Silva’s charisma and popularity is likely to have a strong influence on future policies.

In 2004, Greece turned out its Socialist government in favor of a right-of-center regime under Prime Minister Karamanlis, nephew and grandson of former prime ministers (and known as the “George W. Bush of Greece”). Last year, Germany went from Social Democrat to “grand alliance” between the SDP and conservatives (Christian Democrats and Christian Social Union) under Merkel.  Great Britain is likely to have an election after present Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves office — which is expected next year — and France will hold a presidential election in 2007.

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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