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LISBON: Portuguese will be marking ballots on Sunday in a snap parliamentary election with no clear winner in sight and uncertainty increased by potentially low turnout amid record coronavirus infections.

The government has allowed those infected to leave isolation and cast ballots in person recommending that they do so in the last hour before polling stations close at 7:00 pm (1900 GMT) and promising “absolute safety” during the vote.

Over a tenth of Portugal’s 10 million people are estimated to be isolating because of COVID-19. As in many European countries, infections have spiked lately, stoked by the Omicron variant, although widespread vaccination has kept deaths and hospitalisations lower than in earlier waves.

The election is wide open as the centre-left ruling Socialists have lost much of their lead in opinion polls to the main opposition party, the centre-right Social Democrats, and neither is likely to win a stable majority. Low turnout could make projections unreliable, analysts say.

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