Socially and culturally, Portugal and Spain are often credited with having more in common than just a 1,200 kilometre (745-mile) border and currently having a centre-left government in power. Highlighting a positive grassroots nationwide reaction to the lockdown, Carvalho continued: “To gain that kind of ‘community spirit’ reaction, the consensus between political parties, the government and the president was very important.”Rui Rio, the leader of the main opposition party, the PSD [Social Democratic Party], said ‘we are not going to cause problems for the country just to cause problems for the government’.” Carvalho contrasts that attitude with the situation in Spain, where “the government’s main ally, Podemos, are seen by the main opposition party, the Partido Popular [PP], as radical extremists”. Yet across the border, and despite a poll showing 87 percent of Spaniards believe the opposition parties should drop their criticism of the government, as the crisis deepens, the political divisions show no sign of lessening.”Portugal’s greater recent investment in public health and a much more centralised health service have all helped, while greater levels of mass tourism in Spain and the high degree of mobility that goes with it could have encouraged the spread of coronavirus.” “We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Rebelo de Sousa said with cautious optimism on Wednesday. In Spain, too, the national conversation is turning slowly towards the idea that that the worst of the pandemic may have passed.
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