World

Portugal begins job of clarifying government's future after election brings uncertainty

  • An election campaign poster with the slogan "Vote to change" lies on the ground in Lisbon, Monday, Oct. 5 2015, the day after Portugal's general elections. The poster belongs to the new leftist party Livre, or Free, which failed to win any seats in parliament. The center-right coalition government won Sunday's ballot despite its unpopular austerity policies. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

    An election campaign poster with the slogan "Vote to change" lies on the ground in Lisbon, Monday, Oct. 5 2015, the day after Portugal's general elections. The poster belongs to the new leftist party Livre, or Free, which failed to win any seats in parliament. The center-right coalition government won Sunday's ballot despite its unpopular austerity policies. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)  (The Associated Press)

  • The Portuguese flag flies on the roof of the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon, Monday, Oct. 5 2015, the day after Portugal's general elections. The center-right coalition government won the ballot despite its unpopular austerity policies. The Social Democratic Party and junior Popular Party collected almost 37 percent and 99 seats in Parliament, with four seats from votes abroad still to be allocated. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

    The Portuguese flag flies on the roof of the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon, Monday, Oct. 5 2015, the day after Portugal's general elections. The center-right coalition government won the ballot despite its unpopular austerity policies. The Social Democratic Party and junior Popular Party collected almost 37 percent and 99 seats in Parliament, with four seats from votes abroad still to be allocated. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)  (The Associated Press)

  • Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, left, is received by President Anibal Cavaco Silva at the Belem presidential palace in Lisbon, Portugal, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Cavaco Silva has began a round of meetings to decide on the best path forward following Sunday's general elections. The incumbent center-right government collected most votes but lost its outright majority in Parliament. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

    Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, left, is received by President Anibal Cavaco Silva at the Belem presidential palace in Lisbon, Portugal, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Cavaco Silva has began a round of meetings to decide on the best path forward following Sunday's general elections. The incumbent center-right government collected most votes but lost its outright majority in Parliament. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)  (The Associated Press)

Senior Portuguese officials are starting the delicate task of installing a stable government after a general election that complicated the way forward as much as it clarified.

At stake are debt-reduction measures and reforms that were designed to help the eurozone country's economy recover from a 78 billion euro ($87 billion) bailout in 2011 and a subsequent three-year recession.

The incumbent center-right government collected most votes in Sunday's ballot, but it will be outnumbered in Parliament by left-of-center lawmakers who want to ease or end austerity.

That could spell political gridlock and bring another bout of market nervousness about the eurozone's commitment to fiscal discipline.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva was due to begin meetings with party leaders Monday to decide on how to advance.