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Election over as Portugal braces for tough times

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Election over as Portugal braces for tough times

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Calm reigns in the streets of Lisbon the day after the elections. No celebrations, no euphoria. It may be a reflection of the poor turnout and the electorate’s scepticism that any of their politicians can make a difference.

“I’ve just read the newspaper, and I think it’s what we hoped for. I don’t think it matters who won, because all three major parties have agreed on the guidelines to follow,” said a young woman.

Any optimism comes in relief that the result provides a strong government more capable of taking decisive action.

“For the new government I hope that there will be a larger majority. Three parties signed up to respect the EU and IMF loan conditions, because Portugal’s great problem is unemployment,” said one man.

In Lisbon people’s feelings are a mixture of nostalgia and resignation as the country gets strangled by debt and teeters on the brink of financial disaster. Very few people think there is any way out.