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Socialists Ousted In Portuguese Election

Pedro Passos Coelho
Portuguese voters have ousted the Socialist government in elections dominated by concerns over the country's economic crisis.

Official results show the center-right Social Democrats winning about 39 percent of the June 5 vote compared to about 28 percent for the center-left Socialists, who led Portugal's minority government during the past six years of the economic decline.

The results mean the Social Democrats will be able to form a majority in the 230-seat parliament with the smaller conservative CDS-PP party. The new government faces the task of implementing tough austerity measures linked to a 78 billion-euro rescue package agreed with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to help avert a default on Portugal's debt payments.

Portuguese Social Democrat leader Pedro Passos Coelho is expected to become the country's new prime minister.

"I hope that the new step we are beginning now could be the first step to a new hope for Portugal, to have new credibility outside Portugal, and to restore confidence in the markets in Portugal," he said.

As the results of the vote became clear, Prime Minister Jose Socrates announced his resignation as head of the Socialist Party.

compiled from agency reports