Lisbon, Sep 26 (EFE).- Portuguese voters headed to the polls Sunday to elect their local leaders, a vote in which the ruling Socialist Party (PS) led by prime minister António Costa is expected to be the winner.
Polling stations opened at 8.00 am (7.00 GMT) for the more than 9.3 million people registered to vote for members of the country’s 308 municipal councils.
More than 20 parties are running in the local municipal elections but the PS, which has governed the southern European country since 2015, has the higher odds to win.
Recent opinion polls showed that PS’ Fernando Medina would be re-elected Lisbon’s mayor but would fail to garner an absolute majority.
In Porto, independent candidate Rui Moreira, who has been the northern city’s mayor since 2013, is favored to retain his post with an absolute majority.
Meanwhile, the liberal-conservative Social Democratic Party, which had seen its worst results in the 2017 elections, is trailing in the opinion polls.
The right-wing party Chega (Enough) whose leader, Andre Ventura, came third in the presidential elections earlier this year, is running for the first time in the municipal elections.
The coronavirus pandemic is not expected to have much effect on voter turnout since the situation is under control as 85% of the country’s population has been vaccinated, leading the government to announce on the eve of the elections that it would lift Covid-19 restrictions.
Initial results are expected after the polling stations shut their doors at 8.00 pm.EFE