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国际英语新闻:Portuguese PM Costa’s party leads in election: exit polls

LISBON, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — Exit polls show that Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s Socialist Party (PS) has won 36 to 40 percent of the votes and might achieve the majority in Sunday’s national election.

The main opposition party Social Democratic Party (PSD) might get between 24.2 and 28.2 percent of the votes, the Bloco de Esquerda (Left Block), between 8.9 and 11.9 percent, and the CDU (the Communist Party and the ecologist Green party alliance), between 4.7 and 7.3 percent, showed the initial results from exit polls.

The election abstention rate, between 47.5 and 51.1 percent, is the highest in the Portuguese recent history, according to local media reports.

The high abstention rate was attributed to the rise in the number of voters: about 10.8 million eligible voters this year, 1.1 million more than four years ago as a result of automatic registration in emigration circles.

The PS’s leading position might be explained by the economic growth in the last few years as well as other achievements during the four years of the government led by Costa, according to voters interviewed.

Maria Gabriela Ribeiro, 58, who lives and votes in Lisbon, gave a "thumbs up" to the Costa government when looking back the past four years.

"I feel that we’ve got some improvements, more progress, more social equity," said the secretary of a small company.

In her opinion, for the next four years, technology, health and education should be the main concerns of new government, which should also make an effort to improve the country’s interior development.

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