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Portuguese heading to polls to elect new president

24 January 2016 10:48


People in Portugal have started casting ballots in the presidential election, the ninth such poll in the South European state since the revolution in 1974.

Polling stations opened at 08:00 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) on Sunday and will close at 7:00 p.m. local time (1900 GMT), with some 9.7 million citizens eligible to vote.

There are 10 candidates to compete in the presidential race, including independent nominees and those supported by political parties.

The outgoing conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva has served two consecutive five-year terms.

In Portugal, the president is a ceremonial post, but has the power in the event of a crisis to dissolve the parliament and dismiss the ruling government, which has been relying on a fragile coalition with the far-left to run the country since last October’s general election.

Latest surveys show that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the former minister and president of the center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD), could win Sunday’s election.

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