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Portugal''s secret services deny spying on president
Lisbon, Sept 19 (Agencies):
Published on 19 Sep. 2009 11:37 PM IST
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Portugal's secret services were forced to issue a rare public statement on Friday denying having spied on the country's president, just 10 days before a closely-fought parliamentary election. The SIS secret service agency said in a statement it "categorically denied" its "implication in any eavesdropping activity or interception of communications," or bugging the presidential palace. The organisation's comments followed a press report that centre-right President Anibal Cavaco Silva, of the Social Democratic party, feared having been spied on in his official residence by the secret services. The president feared the SIS agency, controlled by Prime Minister Jose Socrates of the rival Socialist party, had been behind the espionage, according to a report in newspaper Publico last month. On Friday, the Diario de Noticias newspaper said it had evidence the eavesdropping allegation was leaked to the press by a presidential adviser – giving the affair new momentum and forcing the SIS to issue a denial. Both the president and the prime minister declined to comment on the affair on Friday. The September 27 parliamentary election pits Saramago's ruling Socialists against Manuela Ferreira Leite of the Social Democratic party. Leite is from the same party as the president, who is Portugal's first right-wing head of state since the end of the dictatorship in April 1974. Opinion polls suggest a tight race, which will leave neither major party with enough votes to form a majority government.

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