Europe

Portugal vote: Governing coalition ahead, exit polls suggest

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho (L) and Socialist leader Antonio Costa (R) Image copyright EPA
Image caption Centre-right PM Pedro Passos Coelho (L) was being challenged by Socialist leader Antonio Costa (R)

Exit polls and early results suggest Portugal's centre-right governing coalition has won Sunday's election.

With most votes counted, the coalition is ahead with about 39%, followed by the Socialists on just under 32%, official results show.

The poll was seen as a referendum on four years of spending cuts.

The governing coalition had vowed to continue the policies, in place since 2011 after it was forced to seek a eurozone bailout.

The opposition Socialists, led by Antonio Costa, and other left-wing groups had criticised the cuts.

Unemployment has been falling for two-and-a-half years, but many regard the recovery as fragile.

The centre-right Social Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, and its right-wing ally, the People's Party, put up joint lists.

Read more: Coalition hopes to survive austerity anger

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There have been protests against spending cuts

Portugal economy figures

12%

of the workforce is unemployed

20%

of people live below the poverty line

  • 485,000 emigrated from Portugal between 2011 and 2014

  • 125% debt to GDP - the second highest rate in the European Union

AP
Image copyright AP

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