5 JUN 2011
Hundreds of thousands of Portuguese are seeking a future abroad as the nation goes to the ballot box tomorrow to elect a government to implement the bail-out and pull Portugal from the brink of bankruptcy.
By Fiona Govan | The Telegraph
As campaigning came to a close yesterday ahead of tomorrow's general election, polls suggested voters would punish Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose minority government collapsed in March after lawmakers rejected the latest round of austerity measures.
In April, Portugal followed Greece and Ireland to become the third country to seek an international rescue but must now chose a government to implement a bail-out worth 78 billion euros and reduce the public deficit to 3 per cent by 2013 from the 9.1 per cent recorded last year.
Both Portugal's main parties have asked voters to give them strong majorities to enable them to push through urgent and far reaching social and fiscal reforms under recommendations by the IMF aimed at restoring the economy.
But opinion polls published on Friday suggested that while the centre-right Social Democrat party led by Pedro Passos Coelho, would collect 36 per cent of the vote, they would fall shy of a parliamentary majority, leaving a coalition with the smaller conservative Popular Party, which is expected to collect around 12 per cent of the vote.
Socrates and his centre left Socialist Party, who are widely blamed for their mishandling of the economy, were predicted to bring in around 31 per cent of the vote.
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