- Title: Portugal's Costa campaigns on economic record, promises "more and better"
- Date: 3rd October 2019
- Summary: PS FLAGS / COSTA AT PODIUM PREPARING TO ADDRESS SUPPORTERS
- Embargoed: 17th October 2019 09:50
- Keywords: Portugal election Antonio Costa Socialists election
- Location: LISBON & SAO JOAO DAS LAMPAS, PORTUGAL
- City: LISBON & SAO JOAO DAS LAMPAS, PORTUGAL
- Country: Portugal
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA004AZJKRPJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Socialist Party candidate and current Prime Minister Antonio Costa is seeking re-election on October 6 with opinion polls showing his party is likely to win at the polls but may be just short of a majority, meaning it would again need allies.
Costa, a former mayor of Lisbon whose management of the economic turnaround has been a hallmark of his government's four years in office, says the country's budget deficit of 0,5 per cent is the lowest in more than 40 years.
Costa is promising to address the challenges of a low national birth rate, the high cost of health care and the danger posed by climate change.
Costa's centre-left Socialist Party has ruled the country as a minority government with the support of two far-left, eurosceptic parties since 2015.
Portugal successfully completed its bailout programme in May 2014 after imposing harsh austerity measures imposed during the worst financial crisis since the 1970s.
Polls published on Wednesday (October 2) showed Costa's centre-left party stood at 37% of voting intentions in the survey by the Catolica University pollsters for Publico daily and RTP television.
The main opposition Social Democrats fetched 30%, up from 28% in Catolica's previous poll in May, when the front-running Socialists had 39%.
When compared to other polls since May, the Socialists' lead has about halved from as much as 15 percentage points.
Under Portugal's proportional representation system, an absolute majority has previously been achievable with 42% to 45% of the vote, but some analysts say that threshold could drop to 39-40% due to a growing distance between the top two parties and emergence of a new relevant player.
Costa's first role in a Socialist government was as minister of parliamentary affairs under Prime Minister Antonio Guterres between 1997 and 1999. He became justice minister in 1999, until 2002, also under Guterres. He was interior minister in Prime Minister Jose Socrates' first government, from March 2005 until he stepped down to run for mayor of Lisbon.
(Production: Miguel Pereira, Anna Valderrama)
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