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 to a mother and a daughter, and said to them with sarcasm: "The daughter is prettier than the mother. Your daughter is still going to catch the flu, haven't you seen what it's like?" your neckline?"
The video of that moment has gone viral and the criticism against the 74-year-old Portuguese head of state has not stopped intensifying.
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 his fellow citizens". He considered that with his words Rebelo de Sousa "ends up placing a fellow citizen in a position that he 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".
De Sousa Real and Tavares reacted after the general secretary of the socialist party Isabel Moreira did so on Friday night on the social network X (former Twitter).
"The notion is self-explanatory. It's 2023. This is not a woman you don't know getting a 'joke' about her weight. It's not a 'joke' about her cleavage. Who If you don't understand this and it's PR (public relations acronym in English), learn. And apologize. Sexism kills us. It's not a joke," Moreira concluded.
It is not the first time that Rebelo de Sousa has been the protagonist of a controversy of this type, since last weekend some of his words during a visit to the Alentejo region caused a stir when he offered a seat to a woman and asked "the chair holds?"
The leader of the Portuguese far-right party Chega André Ventura has also joined the criticism of Rebelo de Sousa. "If it were me who commented on a woman's cleavage in public we would already have dozens of complaints in ERC (Regulatory Entity for Social Communication), the Attorney General's Office and in I don't know how many associations and observatories for the defense of gender equality," Ventura wrote Saturday on the X network.
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.