Lisbon (EFE).- Several political parties in Portugal reacted this Sunday to statements made on Friday by the country’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, about a young woman’s cleavage during a visit to Canada, which went viral this weekend .
The scene, captured by television cameras, occurred in Toronto (Canada) on Friday when Rebelo de Sousa was taking a walk through the “Little Portugal” neighborhood to meet members of the Portuguese community in the North American country.
There was a point when the Portuguese president stopped to talk with a mother and a daughter, and he said sardonically: “The daughter is prettier than the mother. Her daughter is still going to catch the flu, hasn’t she seen what her neckline looks like?
The video of that moment has gone viral and the criticism against the 74-year-old Portuguese head of state has not stopped intensifying.
Comparisons with the Rubiales case
One of the founders of the environmental party Livre, Rui Tavares, said this Sunday in statements to the newspaper Publico that these comments do not represent the duty of a president of the Republic to “defend the right of the people to their autonomy and to respect the elections.” of their fellow citizens.”
He considered that with his words Rebelo de Sousa “ends up placing a fellow citizen in a position that she has not chosen and that is most likely uncomfortable.”
For her part, the spokesperson for the animal rights party PAN, Inês de Sousa Real, said that the president should clarify whether his comment was made “without malice” and “reinforce the importance of not normalizing these comments.”
“We recently had the Rubiales case in Spain and the international community mobilized,” the spokesperson recalled.
“We are not here to equate the seriousness of the situations,” he continued, “but the truth is that we cannot forget that we live in a world where there is quite accentuated domestic violence and siege, and where many times words uttered without malice can be seen to legitimize behaviors with other intentions.”
Rebelo denies that his comment was sexist
The president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, denied this Sunday that his comment was sexist and explained that he did it because it was cold.
Asked by the Portuguese journalists accompanying him on a state visit to the North American country, Rebelo de Sousa seemed surprised.
“Don’t tell me, I don’t even know what I have to comment on,” he said.
“It was not a sexist comment, nor did it occur to me, neither for that young woman nor for the old ladies. It was not sexist at all,” Rebelo de Sousa added in statements to the press in Toronto.
Rebelo de Sousa said this Sunday that at the end of his walk through the Portuguese neighborhood of Montreal – although Portuguese media had previously reported that it had been in Toronto – it started to rain and it was cold, so he alerted “several elderly ladies, one of them with white hair, and others who are younger.”
“I told several people, but apparently only the young woman was recorded, ‘be careful, because they can still catch a cold, I caught a cold,’” he concluded.
For the moment, the president’s political party, the PSD (center-right), has not commented on this controversy.
At the end of August, Rebelo de Sousa already caused controversy when commenting on the case of the kiss of the then president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, to the soccer player Jennifer Hermoso, he stated that it was “a minor issue” if compared to the war in Ukraine.