Portugals Socialists eye reelection on economic record

LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s Socialist prime minister is vowing to address the challenges of a low national birth rate, the increasing cost of health care and climate change as he bids for a second straight term in the country’s Oct. 6 general election.Prime Minister Antonio Costa used his annual State of the Nation speech in parliament Wednesday to laud his government’s record of economic growth, with the budget deficit of 0.5% the lowest in more than 40 years.Portugal needed a 78 billion-euro ($88 billion) bailout in 2011, after recording a deficit above 11%, and plunged into a three-year recession.Costa’s centre-left Socialist Party, ruling as a minority government for the past four years, holds a comfortable lead in polls.Critics say public services are starved for cash under the Socialists.The Associated Press read more