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.