Portuguese Socialists Lose Majority, Seek Coalition

Sept. 28, 2009, midnight

Prime Minister Jose SOCRATES and his Socialist Party won a plurality of seats in Portugal's legislative elections on Sunday but lost their legislative majority. SP deputies led the opposition Social Democrats by more than six points, claiming 96 of 226 seats in the Assembly of the Republic. Portugal faces high unemployment, and SOCRATES campaigned on using public works projects to stimulate the economy. With the country's public debt approaching 75 percent of gross domestic product, many are arguing SP policies will bankrupt the country. SOCRATES has said he will reach out to conservative president Anibal CAVACAO SILVA for advice on coalition partners. According to most analysts, an alliance with the Left Bloc, a group of former communist parties, is unlikely.

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