Portugal's opposition PSD wins early election: exit polls

5th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Portugal's centre-right opposition Social Democrats (PSD) won elections Sunday and will be able to form a majority in parliament with its traditional ally, the conservative CDS-PP, three television exit polls showed.

The PSD captured between 37 and 42.5 percent of the vote against 24.8 to 30 percent for Prime Minister Jose Socrates' Socialists, according to the polls released by RTP, SIC and TVI television stations after voting closed.

The result would give the party 102 to 109 seats in the 230-seat assembly, allowing them to govern with a majority if they team up with the CDS-PP, which captured 12-28 seats, according to the exit polls.

The early election was triggered by Socrates' resignation at the end of March after the parliamentary opposition, led by the PSD, rejected his minority government's fourth austerity package in just under a year.

Two weeks later Portugal became the third eurozone nation after Greece and Ireland last year to request a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

Portugal's 78-billion-euro bailout is conditional on measures that include tax hikes, a freeze on state pensions and salaries and a reduction in unemployment benefits as well as their duration.

Investors have kept Portugal's borrowing costs close to record levels even after the bailout agreement was reached in May on fears that the government that emerges after the election may lack a strong enough mandate to make parliament pass the austerity measures and reforms called for in the deal.

© 2011 AFP

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