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ELECTIONS

Portugal's Socialists tipped for re-election

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa voting in Lisbon, 6 October 2019.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa voting in Lisbon, 6 October 2019. REUTERS / Jon Nazca

Voters in Portugal this Sunday are expected to grant Prime Minister Antonio Costa's Socialists a second straight term following a period of solid economic growth after years of austerity.

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Antonio Costa's likely re-election bucks the trend of declining centre-left fortunes and the rise of far-right, populist forces seen elsewhere in Europe.

Final opinion polls published on Friday put support for the Socialist Party (PS) -- which has governed for the past four years with the backing in parliament of two smaller hard-left parties -- at 36-39 percent, compared to 25-30 percent for their nearest rivals, the centre-right Social Democrats (PSD).

If opinion polls stand up the PS would boost its numbers in Portugal's 230-seat parliament but still fall short of an absolute majority, meaning former Lisbon mayor Costa would once again need the support of at least one other party to govern.

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