Portugal’s ruling socialists faced their first electoral test on Sunday as local elections were held. The party, which came to power in February, is thought likely to suffer at the ballot box. Opinion polls indicate the opposition centre-right Social Democrats will tighten control of most of the city halls across the country.
The Portuguese President, Jorge Sampaio, who’s a former mayor of Lisbon, was one of the first to vote. He reminded citizens how important the election was for the democracy of Portugal. Sampaio was the last socialist to hold the position of mayor of the Portuguese capital. Latest opinion polls indicate this will not change as they give an advantage to the centre-right candidate Carmona Rodrigues over his socialist competitor Manuel Maria Carillo.The socialists hope to take power of a number of cities that are currently under center-right leadership. Issues that might effect voters include sluggish economic growth and rising taxes. Four of the candidates running in today’s elections face corruption charges; they remain, however, the most popular candidates for the posts they are seeking.