Ruling Portugal coalition wins election, loses majority

Baku, October 5, AZERTAC

Portugal's centre-right government on Sunday won an election that was a test of its tough austerity stance, but its failure to win a majority in parliament raises the prospect of political uncertainty, according to Reuters.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho would be the first leader in Europe to be re-elected after imposing hardships on voters under international bailout packages that followed the start of the sovereign debt crisis in 2009.

Yet a minority government could unnerve investors in the Iberian country of 10 million. Not one minority administration has survived a full term in Portugal since the 1974 overthrow of the fascist regime installed by dictator Antonio Salazar.

With 99.1 percent of parishes in the country counted, the ruling coalition had around 38.5 percent of the vote while Socialist challenger Antonio Costa had 32.4 percent. The final count will not be available until late on Monday.

Passos Coelho said he was ready to form a new government but suggested he may to have to compromise on policies.

"We interpret the results with a lot of humility," he said. "We failed to reach a majority in parliament."

The results showed the government with just 100 seats in the 230-seat parliament - well short of the 116 it would need for a majority - although the tally could rise slightly with the final result.

Costa, who has promised to ease austerity and deliver more disposable income back to families, said his party had failed to meet its goal of victory but he would not resign and the Socialists would stick to their policies.

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