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World Briefing

Portugal

Ruling Socialists likely to win vote

September 27, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Portugal votes today in an election the ruling Socialists are expected to win despite discontent with the economy in Western Europe's poorest country.

Prime Minister Jose Socrates, an energetic 52-year-old, is not likely to get an absolute majority and will have to form a minority government. This means a spell of political uncertainty but it will not be calamitous, analysts say.

"If the Socialists get 38% of the vote as the polls indicate, it is not the worst of situations for their survival, it has been done in the past," analyst Antonio Costa Pinto said.

The center-right Social Democrats, led by former finance minister Manuela Ferreira Leite, 68, have fared poorly against the more youthful Socrates, partly because of Leite's conservative image, analysts said.

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