World

Portugal waits as politicians try to build a stable government after inconclusive election

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)

Days of hard political bargaining are expected in Portugal as party leaders negotiate compromises to find a stable government following a general election that produced no clear winner.

The previous center-right coalition government collected most votes in Sunday's ballot despite enacting austerity policies, but it lost its outright majority in Parliament where it can be out-voted by left-of-center lawmakers who want to ease or scrap austerity.

With eurozone member Portugal still recovering from a 78 billion-euro ($88 billion) bailout in 2011, the political gridlock could make markets jumpy about the 19-nation bloc's finances again.

Pedro Passos Coelho, Portugal's prime minister for the past four years, said Wednesday he has asked to meet with the leader of the country's main center-left Socialist Party in an effort to build a solid government.