Austerity policies put to test in Portugal election

Portugal votes in parliamentary election, widely seen as referendum on four years of budgetary savings and market reforms

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Voters in Portugal are heading to the polls in a general election seen as a referendum on four years of austerity under the centre-right government.

The centre-right governing coalition has vowed to keep austerity policies in place that the Socialists and other left-wing groups have criticised  since 2011, after being pushed to search for a eurozone bailout.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva said his country is facing a crucial moment and called for a high turnout on Sunday.

Socialist leader Antonio Costa said only one vote for his party would be a "useful vote" against the government while the centre-right Social Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, and its right-wing ally, the People's Party, have put up joint lists of candidates in all electoral districts.

In Portugal, unemployment has decreased for more than two years, but people still see the recovery as fragile.

TRTWorld and agencies