Portugal's Socialists could now rule just with Left Bloc: poll

September 16, 2016 10:29 AM EDT

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LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal's ruling Socialists extended their lead in an opinion poll published on Friday which also showed that they could now govern with just one of their two far-left partners, the Left Bloc, if a new election were held.

The poll, published in weekly Expresso, showed the center-left Socialists on 36 percent support, up 0.5 percentage points, while the center-right opposition Social Democrats slipped 0.4 percentage points to 32.1 percent.

The poll will be welcome news for the Socialists, who last year teamed up with the Left Bloc and Communists to oust the Social Democrat government and form a minority government backed in parliament by the two far-left partners.

The gains for the Socialists could also dissuade the two leftist parties from withdrawing support from the government as they would fare less well if new elections were called.

The Left Bloc, which is widely seen as easier to deal with for the government than the Communists, slipped 0.8 percentage points to 8.2 percent. Still, together the Socialists and Left Bloc together would win 44.2 percent of the vote if an election were held now, ensuring a majority in parliament.

A level of support around 44 percent is considered sufficient to guarantee a majority due to the distribution of constituencies and seats in parliament.

The Communists rose 0.3 percentage points to 8.1 percent.

The rightist CDS, which governed in a coalition with the Social Democrats until last year, rose 0.9 percentage points to 6.9 percent.

The poll, carried out by pollsters Eurosondagem, was carried out Sept. 7-14 and had a margin of error of 3.08 percent.

(Reporting by Axel Bugge; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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