An elderly man walks to a voting booth to fill his ballot paper at a polling station in Lisbon Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. Portugal is holding a general election Sunday in which voters will choose members of the next Portuguese parliament. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

The Latest: Exit poll: Portugal's Socialist win most votes

October 06, 2019 - 12:05 pm

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The Latest on Portugal's election (all times local):

8 p.m.

An exit poll indicates the center-left Socialist Party has collected the most votes in Portugal's general election and is poised to continue in government for another four years.

The estimate, published by the S.I.C. television channel, projects that the Socialists will capture 36-40% of Sunday's vote. It says the main opposition Social Democratic Party will get 24-28%.

It gives the radical Left Bloc 9-12%, the Portuguese Communist Party 5-7% and the Christian Democrats 2.4-5%

It estimates turnout at 48.5-52.5%, which would be a record low.

The exit poll by Lisbon University's public survey department was based on asking people leaving polling stations how they had voted. The result was roughly in line with opinion polls published before the election.

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8:15 a.m.

Portugal is holding a general election, with the center-left Socialist Party widely expected to collect most votes and stay in government for another four years.

The Socialists have overseen a strong economic recovery, with unemployment dropping by around half, to 6%, over its term. They have also started straightening out Portugal's ill-managed public finances.

The main opposition Social Democrats party is still associated with the deep cutbacks and a three-year recession that ended in 2014, when the center-right party was in power.

Recent opinion polls have indicated that the Socialists will fall short of a majority in parliament. That means they may have to negotiate alliances with smaller left-of-center parties, as they did in their last term, to pass legislation.

Sunday's ballot is open to around 10.8 million eligible voters.