Portugal elects new president

(REUTERS) - It may be a largely ceremonial position, but Portugal's new president-elect is celebrating.

Mr Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won Sunday's (Jan 24) election with 52 per cent of the vote, easily defeating his nearest rival.

Portugal is likely to need a leader with broad support as a shaky government coalition works to find a balance between election pledges to end austerity and European Union requirements to cut the budget deficit.

"As president I will do everything to bring the Portuguese closer, building bridges, healing wounds," said Mr de Sousa. "We will be stronger, as we will fight injustices and promote credibility and hope for the future."

Few analysts expect Portugal's socialist-led government to serve a full four-year term.

As president, the centre-right Mr de Sousa will have the crucial power to dissolve parliament and fire the Prime Minister - a role that is especially important during the current time of political uncertainty.