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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Portuguese Socialists Win Polls

LISBON -- The Socialist Party was preparing for government Monday, a day after recording a landslide general election victory that endorsed the center-left party's promised economic reforms.

Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio was expected to formally invite Socialist leader Jose Socrates later this week to form a government. Socrates is due to take office as prime minister next month.

The Socialists, who have vowed to modernize the economy, earned 45 percent of the vote to secure 120 seats in the 230-seat legislature.

The outcome was a crushing defeat for the Social Democratic Party and Popular Party, whose three-year conservative coalition government failed to lift Portugal out of an economic crisis.

Portugal's unemployment rate has risen to a six-year high of 7.1 percent. Statistics show the country of 10.3 million is falling behind the rest of the European Union, largely because of its backward economy and antiquated practices.

Sampaio, the head of state, dissolved Parliament and called a snap election in December. He was angry at missteps by the government of Social Democrat leader Pedro Santana Lopes, who took over as prime minister last year after Jose Manuel Barroso quit to become European Commission president.