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Portugal takes a break before voting

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Portugal takes a break before voting


It is all over bar the ballot in Portugal, which votes tomorrow but takes a breather from the frenetic campaign today.

The last three opinion polls all give the governing Socialists victory, but short of the absolute majority they currently enjoy. The Social Democrat’s Manuela Ferreira Leite trails by eight percentage points in all of them, and looks set to capture under a third of the vote. Both of the big parties have seen a softening in their support, and the smaller parties are doing the damage. The Left bloc, a Communist-Green alliance, and a rightwing alliance between them have over a quarter of all votes, and the maths favour the Socialists if it comes to coalition-building. However because of Jose Socrates’s economic reforms it is unlikely the Left bloc would want to enter government. Socrates has dragged his party up in the polls in the last two weeks, but it is still nearly 10 percent off its score of 2005. He insists Portugal can invest its way out of economic slowdown; Ferreira Leite says it is time for austerity. Tomorrow, the people decide.

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