Portugal's main opposition Socialists win European elections

Socialist lead candidate to the european parliament Francisco Assis (left) embracing his leader Antonio Jose Seguro after the results of the party in the european elections, Lisbon, Portugal on May 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: EPA
Socialist lead candidate to the european parliament Francisco Assis (left) embracing his leader Antonio Jose Seguro after the results of the party in the european elections, Lisbon, Portugal on May 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: EPA

LISBON (REUTERS) – Portugal’s main opposition Socialists won elections for the European Parliament on Sunday in an austerity-weary country which earlier this month exited an international bailout.With more than 99 per cent of the vote counted, the centre-left Socialists had won with 31.45 per cent of the ballot that was marked by high abstention levels at over 66 per cent.The ruling coalition of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s Social Democrats and their smaller rightist partner CDS-PP that implemented painful cuts over the three years of bailout, garnered 27.7 per cent.It was followed by the Communist-Greens alliance, with 12.7 per cent and the agrarian-environmentalist Partido da Terra (Party of the Earth), which built its campaign on disillusionment with traditional political parties.It was the only party without parliament representation in Portugal that won a mandate, with 7.15 per cent of the vote.Portugal, which still has to cut its budget deficit this year and next, faces general election next year.