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Hard times ahead no matter who wins Portugal's election

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Hard times ahead no matter who wins Portugal's election

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Campaigning is over in Portugal’s snap general election as voters ponder where to mark their ballot papers on Sunday in a poll that could end months of political and economic turmoil.

Whichever party wins will have the unenviable task of implementing a raft of harsh austerity measures necessary under the conditions of 78-billion-euro bailout loan.

Most Portuguese are disillusioned with politicians and fear the economic privations ahead.

Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates looks set to lose out as opinion polls put the centre-right Social Democrats, led by Pedro Passos Coelho, in front.

The conditions of the bailout include raising taxes, steep spending cuts and reforms to boost business all of which are expected to keep Portugal in recession for at least the next two years.