Portugal's presidential election kicks off

16:39, January 23, 2011      

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Portugal's presidential election began here on Sunday morning with incumbent President Anibal Cavaco Silva being most likely to secure an outright victory in the first round of voting.

Results of the election are scheduled to be announced on Sunday night. If no candidate gets more than half of the vote, a runoff will be held on Feb. 13.

But several opinion polls conducted before the election showed that Silva was set to get reelected in the first round. Compared with the other five candidates, Silva, a former economics professor and prime minister, is widely seen as being more capable of collaborating with the government in lifting the country out of its debt crisis.

Manuel Alegre, Silva's main rival, is a well-known poet and prominent leftist. He is not very popular among some voters who say that at the moment, Portugal needs an economic expert more than a poet.

In the 2006 presidential election, Silva won the first round with 50.5 percent of the vote.

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