Portugal's Socialists focus on economy in re-election bid

Portugal's Socialists focus on economy in re-election bid
Portuguese Prime Minister and Socialist Party leader Antonio Costa answers questions during a meeting with citizens to discuss inclusion policies for disabled people, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2019. At left is member of parliament Maria da Luz Rosinha and at right Ana Sofia Antunes, Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities. Poster in the background reads "Do even more and better". Portugal's governing Socialist Party is hoping an economic recovery over the past four years will ensure it is returned to power in an Oct. 6 general election. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party is hoping an economic recovery during four years of governing will persuade voters in an upcoming election to return the party to power.

The official two-week campaign period opened Sunday for the Oct. 6 election in which voters will choose members of country’s parliament.

The party with the most lawmakers in the 230-seat legislature typically is asked to form a government.

Recent polls have indicated the center-left Socialists have a strong lead over their traditional rivals, the center-right Social Democrats.

Portugal has not seen a recent surge of populist parties like some other European countries.

Portugal had three years of recession when the Social Democratic Party led the previous government. Economic growth has since climbed, from 0.19% in 2014 to 2.1% in 2018, while unemployment fell by half.