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Portuguese election nears with no clear front runner

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Portuguese election nears with no clear front runner

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Portugal’s election is looming with Sunday’s result expected to go to the wire.

The campaign has been dominated by accusations of sleaze and all the evidence indicates no party will score enough to form a majority. Polls currently put the ruling socialists on 38 per cent with their centre-right rivals, the Social Democrats, on 32. The extreme Left Bloc is also experiencing record highs at around 12 per cent. That will probably mean whoever wins will have to forge coalitions. Dubbed by some as “Sunny Boy” current socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates is trying to woo voters by claiming he stands for a socially liberal modern Portugal. He remains slightly ahead of his conservative challenger Manuela Ferreira Leite, whose campaign among other things has centred on traditional family values. Leite has also accused Socrates of wasting public money on a high speed rail network. However, it is the economy which could decide who forms the next government with unemployment currently at 9 per cent.