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Portuguese Socialist Chief Asked to Form New Government

Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio has asked Socialist leader Jose Socrates to form a new government after his center-left party's resounding win in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

Mr. Socrates will take over from Social Democrat Pedro Santana Lopes after the Socialists won the first absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament in more than 10 years.

The Socialists took 120 of parliament's 230 seats, to just 72 for the center-right Social Democrats. The outgoing prime minister has since announced he will not seek re-election as Social Democratic leader.

Mr. Socrates has promised to restore confidence after Portugal's unemployment reached a six-year high of 7.1 percent last year.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.