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Portugal president sees smooth passage of 2018 budget

LISBON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Portugal's minority Socialist government should have no problems passing its 2018 budget bill in parliament, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said on Monday after a series of meetings with the main political parties.

The government, which will seek a further reduction of the budget deficit next year, based mainly on strengthening economic growth, is due to present the draft budget by Friday.

The Socialists are backed in parliament by the two left-wing parties, the Left Bloc and Communists, who have supported two previous budgets which reversed many of the austerity measures imposed by the previous administration during Portugal's debt crisis and bailout.

Some analysts have suggested that the loss of seats by the Communists in last week's regional election could make the party harden its line in the budget negotiations, potentially jeopardising the alliance.

But the president ruled out any major complications.

"The idea I've got from the meetings with the parties is that there will be a budget within the established timeframe and there will be no snags, no crises around the 2018 budget in Portuguese politics," Rebelo de Sousa told reporters.

Last year, the government eked out a budget deficit of 2 percent of GDP, the lowest in more than four decades, and seeks to cut it to 1.5 percent this year and 1 percent in 2018. The economy is expected to grow 2.5 percent this year. (Reporting by Sergio Goncalves Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Alison Williams)