Portugal's president steps in to decide who will govern after inconclusive election

Portugal's president says he will meet separately next week with the country's political parties who have been wrangling since the Oct. 4 general election over which one of them should form a government.

The head of state is a largely symbolic figure but has the power to nominate a prime minister, who then puts together a government, based on election results.

The recent election created a muddle. The incumbent center-right government won with 107 seats in the 230-seat Parliament and wants to rule, though it would be a vulnerable minority government. Left-of-center parties together have 122 seats and are considering joining forces to take power.

President Anibal Cavaco said in a statement Thursday he will hold talks with party leaders Oct. 20 and 21 before deciding who to choose.