Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party has won support for a bid to hold a national referendum on abortion.

In the February election, the Socialist party ran on a platform that included a promise to conduct a national referendum to overturn the country’s official prohibition on abortion.

Socialists hold 121 of the 230 seats in parliament.

The proposal seeks to make abortion on demand legal up to the 10th week of pregnancy.

The question reads: “Do you agree that abortions, carried out in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, with the woman’s consent, in a legal medical establishment, should no longer be illegal?”

A 1998 referendum failed to garner the minimum 50 per cent voter turnout to make the outcome binding, although a majority of the 31 per cent who voted were against the legalization of abortion.

President Jorge Sampaio has yet to announce a date for the referendum, which is not expected until after the summer.