The procedural and formal steps were followed, as tradition, but the President of the Republic’s inauguration is somewhat defined, this time, by the pandemic context.
The President of the Republic came back to Porto, as he had done five years before, to mark his inauguration ceremony. After being sworn in in Lisbon, he headed to Porto for an ecumenical ceremony, where he was welcomed by the Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira. This is the President’s second mandate and the ceremony was attended by representatives of several religious beliefs. “I am filled with pride, because Porto is a city of tolerance”, affirmed Rui Moreira.
And “with the same symbolism, despite the absolutely unprecedented circumstances we are living”, the Mayor of Porto once again welcomed the newly elected President, wishing him “all the best for this new mandate”, reiterating his commitment to collaborate in national matters. “As long as I am the Mayor of Porto, I will do everything to converge with the serious policies of national interest, namely the reduction of poverty and inequality, that this very morning were pointed out in the President’s speech, thus making social cohesion one of his missions”, the Mayor of Porto enhanced.
Following a private meeting with Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who arrived to Porto City Hall at about 2.30 pm, Rui Moreira opened the ecumenical ceremony, which was presided by the President of the Republic in the Salão Nobre, which was also attended by representatives of several religious beliefs, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, and by the President of Porto Municipal Assembly, Miguel Pereira Leite.
“The fact that that this ecumenical ceremony is held here fills me with pride, because Porto is a city of tolerance, It is a city that welcomes numerous citizens of diverse races, religious beliefs and political views. Porto is a liberal city, which has always, always known how to relate with others, with those who visit us and those who choose to build their lives here”, stated the Mayor of Porto, furthering that before him “there are the representatives of so many perspectives in the world who, regardless of the differences they carry, they all are supporters of good, understanding, peace, compassion and love”.
Rui Moreira added that “today is a good day to resume hope”, even if Portugal is “enduring a fragile situation”, one that “needs strong policies” that will “boost growth” and, therefore, bring “hope”.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in turn, thanked Rui Moreira for the welcoming reception and highlighted that “Portugal is here in Porto, thus marking what history, tradition and culture are all about, and also the strength of Porto and its people”.
“[This is] a sign given not in Lisbon, but in Porto, the heart of the fight for freedom for over 200 years now, so that the ecumenical spirit, the open mind, the spirit of tolerance and respect for others can be stated as a national spirit, one that must be national. It is relevant to all, with no exception, because it matters to Portugal and to the Portuguese”, the President declared.
The President of the Republic greeted the “honourable presence” of the representatives of the main religious faiths within the Portuguese society and expressed his “gratitude” and “plea”. “Gratitude to all that perform a fundamental freedom in our Constitution – religious freedom”, and “plea that it is by means of a constructive dialogue that we can uphold liberty, tolerance, and mutual understanding, in a time when it is so tempting to divide, label, create scapegoats, accuse with no reason, marginalise without humanity”, the President of the Republic urged.
D. José Ornelas, President of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference and Bishop of Setúbal, expressed on behalf of the representatives attending the ceremony, “the commitment to build in solidarity and peace, from faith”, to win over the virus of the pandemic “and other virus that also destroy and divide us”.
Following the ceremony at Porto City Hall, the President of the Republic headed to the Islamic Centre of Porto, for a scheduled visit.