LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The leader of the Portuguese Communist Party is temporarily dropping out of campaigning for his country's Jan. 30 general election for an urgent heart procedure, the party announced Tuesday.
Jerónimo de Sousa, 74, requires a coronary angioplasty and stent insertion “which cannot be postponed until after the election,” the party said in a statement.
De Sousa will undergo the procedure on Wednesday and is expected to return to the campaign at the end of next week.
He is to be replaced on the campaign trail by two members of the party’s central committee who are also standing for parliament.
De Sousa, a former factory worker and trade unionist who has been a lawmaker for four decades, has led the Portuguese Communist Party for the last 18 years.
The Jan. 30 ballot will elect 230 lawmakers, who in turn vote for a government from one of the elected parties. The Portuguese Communist Party had 10 seats in the outgoing parliament.
The Associated Press