Left or right to lead govt? Portugal's president must choose political path his nation takes

Portugal's president holds the country's political future in his hands as he ponders whether to give power to a center-right coalition government or an alliance of center-left parties.

The center-right government of the past four years collected most votes in an Oct. 4 election and wants to rule as a minority government. But the Socialist Party, which came second, says it has an agreement with the radical Left Bloc and the Portuguese Communist Party to form a majority government.

The Socialists say their alliance, which wants to ease austerity measures adopted after Portugal's 78 billion-euro ($88.5 billion) bailout in 2011, would force the collapse of a center-right government in Parliament within days.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva could announce his choice as early as later Wednesday.