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Amid Economic Crisis, Portugal Reelects President

Anibal Cavaco Silva has been elected to a second term as Portugal's president in an election overshadowed by the country's economic difficulties.

Official results show Cavaco Silva, a political conservative, winning around 53 percent of the January 23 vote, compared to less than 20 percent for Manuel Alegre of the ruling Socialists.

The voter turnout was a record low, at less than 50 percent.

In comments after the vote, Cavaco Silva has pledged to be a source of institutional stability as the government seeks to implement austerity measures aimed at reducing the budget deficit so Portugal will not have to accept an international bailout like Ireland and Greece.

"As I said throughout my campaign, a candidate for the presidency does not have a program but a candidate has a line of action, a project for his mandate," Cavaco Silva said. "I will be a reference of confidence, stability, and solidarity, without abdicating from any of the powers that the constitution offers me. I'll exercise an active mandate loyally, cooperating with all the bodies of sovereignty to defend the great national, strategic objectives."

The Portuguese presidential post is largely ceremonial but does have the power to dismiss the prime minister and dissolve parliament.

compiled from agency reports