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Portugal's Azores Islands go to the polls

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Portugal's Azores Islands go to the polls

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Regional parliamentary elections are under way in the tiny Portuguese Azores Islands.

With almost 200,000 islanders eligible to vote, the ballot is being seen as a test for Prime Minister Jose Socrates ruling socialists ahead of next years national elections.

While favourites to keep control of the islands, it remains unclear whether the socialists will retain an overall majority. They have controlled the Azores for the last 12 years.

In July, Portugal’s right-leaning Social Democrat President Cavaco Silva vetoed new laws which would have allowed greater political autonomy to the Azores.

Cavaco Silva claimed that his presidential powers to dissolve regional assemblies were being threatened.