Portugal election: Socialists tipped to win as voting begins

A woman casts her ballot at a polling stationImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Nearly 11 million people are registered to vote in the parliamentary race

Voting has begun in Portugal’s general election, with Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s Socialist Party tipped as the favourite to win.

But while polls suggest the party may gain the most votes, it is unclear if they will win a majority over their centre-right Social Democrat rivals.

Nearly 11 million people are registered to vote in the race for control of Portugal’s 230-seat parliament.

Results will be released after polls close at 19:00 (18:00 GMT).

The Social Democrats (PSD) won the most votes in Portugal’s 2015 election, but the Socialist Party came to power after reaching formal agreements with smaller left-wing parties.

Since then the country’s economy has grown above the EU average.

Portugal’s budget deficit has also shrunk despite the reversal of austerity measures that the previous PSD government rolled out in return for a €78bn ($82bn; $67bn) bailout from the EU and International Monetary Fund.

Opposition leaders, however, have accused the Socialist government of going too far in squeezing investment to meet eurozone budget rules.

The Socialists’ popularity has also been hit by a string of scandals, including accusations of nepotism and a suspected cover-up of weapons theft at a military base.

Read the full article at: bbc.com