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Conservative Ex-PM Wins Portuguese Presidential Election

Conservative former Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva has won Sunday's presidential election in Portugal.

With nearly all the votes counted, Mr. Cavaco Silva won almost 51 percent of the vote - just enough to avoid a runoff.

His closest rival, left-wing lawmaker Manuel Alegre, won 21 percent. Four other candidates also ran.

Mr. Cavaco Silva will be Portugal's first conservative president since the 1974 coup ousted the country's right-wing dictatorship.

Portugal's presidency is a largely ceremonial office without executive powers, but the head of state can influence government policy.

Mr. Cavaco Silva has pledged to press for continued economic reforms by the center-left Socialist government. He led Portugal's economic boom as prime minister from 1985 to 1995.

Portugal's constitution bars President Jorge Sampaio from seeking a third consecutive five-year term.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.