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Portugal’s ruling coalition set for narrow election win: polls

Portugal’s incumbent conservative coalition is on course to win general elections this weekend but appears likely to lose its parliamentary majority, according to opinion polls.

The coalition led by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho had the backing of 38 percent of voters, compared to 32 percent for the opposition Socialist Party, a poll for the Catholic University released Thursday said.

It estimated that the coalition would win between 99 and 114 seats in the 230-member parliament in Sunday’s election, just short of the 116 needed for an absolute majority.

The Socialists, led by former Lisbon mayor Antonio Costa, are likely to have between 78 and 95 deputies.

Another poll, for the Eurosondagem institute had the government coalition on 37.7 percent, winning between 102 and 108 seats, and the Socialists on 32.7 percent, garnering 89 to 95 seats.

A poll by the same institute in early July had made the Socialists slight favorites.

Portugal has not seen such a tight election race since it became a democracy in 1974.

It is still recovering from its 2011 economic crisis when it became the third eurozone country after Ireland and Greece to be bailed out.

It left the bailout scheme in May 2014 but only after implementing stringent austerity measures in return for funding.