by Hillary White

LISBON, February 2, 2011 ( – Aníbal António Cavaco Silva, the Catholic politician who approved a law that led to the liberalization of abortion and another that instituted gay “marriage” in Portugal, has been reelected as the country’s president in general elections on Sunday, January 23.

Silva has promised to serve his five-year mandate with “confidence” and “stability,” working “loyally” with the Socialist government.

When announcing his decision to run for a second term, Silva said, “Given the extremely difficult situation Portugal is facing at the moment, I thought it was my duty to stand for election. With my experience and my knowledge, I can help my country.”

Legislation approved by Silva in 2007 allows abortion on demand up to the 10th week of pregnancy. Last year, Silva garnered criticism from the country’s powerful Catholic bishops when he approved a law that created same-sex “marriage.”

These legal changes prompted a rare direct rebuke from Pope Benedict when he visited the country in May 2010. The pope called for public initiatives to protect “the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman.”

The pope also expressed his “deep appreciation for all those social and pastoral initiatives aimed at combating the socioeconomic and cultural mechanisms which lead to abortion, and are openly concerned to defend life and to promote the reconciliation and healing of those harmed by the tragedy of abortion.”

Silva has responded to criticism, saying that he had to put his personal convictions aside in approving the law.

Due to his refusal to use his presidential veto to stop the abortion and gay “marriage” laws, Silva was able to portray himself as a “centrist” who would use his influence to guide the country through its looming economic crisis.