Monday, June 6, 2011

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho

(CNN) -- Pedro Passos Coelho, a businessman and opposition leader, is set to succeed Jose Socrates as Portugal's prime minister after his party scored a convincing victory in Sunday's election.

According to official results posted online that accounted for more than 99% of all ballots, Coelho's Social Democratic Party had just under 39% of the vote. Socrates' Socialist Party was running a distant second at 28%, while the Popular Party had nearly 12% of the overall vote.
In his victory speech, Coelho announced the Social Democrats, which won 105 parliamentary seats, would form a coalition government with the Popular Party, which won 24 seats.

He also promised to tackle Portugal's burgeoning financial crisis, including taking steps to meet European Union requirements for deficit reduction and revenue hikes in order to receive bailout funds. "This is a night for Portugal to celebrate this change," he said. "We have our work cut out, but we aren't afraid of working."

Nearly 59% of Portugal's registered voters hit the ballot box Sunday, compared to a 61.5% turnout in 2002.

In a speech Sunday night, Socrates -- who was first elected in 2002, and re-elected in 2009 -- acknowledged the loss and resigned as head of his party.

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