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Portugal's Socialists tipped for re-election

Portugal's Socialists tipped for re-election

Voters in Portugal this Sunday are expected to grant Prime Minister Antonio Costa's Socialists a second straight term following a period of solid economic growth after years of austerity.

Antonio Costa's likely re-election bucks the trend of declining centre-left fortunes and the rise of far-right, populist forces seen elsewhere in Europe.

Final opinion polls published on Friday put support for the Socialist Party (PS) -- which has governed for the past four years with the backing in parliament of two smaller hard-left parties -- at 36-39 percent, compared to 25-30 percent for their nearest rivals, the centre-right Social Democrats (PSD).

If opinion polls stand up the PS would boost its numbers in Portugal's 230-seat parliament but still fall short of an absolute majority, meaning former Lisbon mayor Costa would once again need the support of at least one other party to govern.

Exit poll results are expected on Sunday evening after polling stations close.