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Center-right Candidate Seen Winning Portugal Presidency

  • VOA News

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa waves to supporters after Portugal's presidential election, Jan. 24, 2016, in Lisbon.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa waves to supporters after Portugal's presidential election, Jan. 24, 2016, in Lisbon.

Preliminary results from Portugal's presidential election show center-right candidate Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa winning the presidency outright with at least 52 percent of the vote.

With nearly all votes counted, Rebelo de Sousa's nearest rival was shown carrying 23 percent of the vote and conceded defeat late Sunday.

Rebelo de Sousa campaigned on a platform promising stability and consensus building, and many analysts close to the election say he will provide political balance to the left-leaning anti-austerity parliament elected in October.

Although largely ceremonial, Portugal's presidency has ultimate power over the country's fragile ruling parliamentary alliance, with the right to dissolve parliament in the event of a crisis.

The polls are under tight scrutiny by the European Union, which is pressing Lisbon to adhere to strict economic policies agreed on in 2011 in return for an $85 billion bailout package.

The 67-year-old Rebelo de Sousa, a former journalist, succeeds outgoing President Anibal Cavaco Silva, who served two five-year terms.

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