A nasty proxy fight should draw closer to a conclusion Friday when the shareholders of the closed-end Portugal Fund vote on a series of proposals which could convert the fund to an open-end structure and give closed-end fund activist Ronald Olin a seat on the fund's board of directors.

The proxy fight, which began in April, took an ironic twist in the last two weeks when the Portugal Fund's four independent directors accused Olin of having a conflict of interest in his bid to win election to the fund's board. Closed-end fund activists have long complained that it is independent directors who have a serious conflict when the directors serve on several fund boards in the same fund complex, a fact which activists say raises doubts about the directors' independence.

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