Portuguese leaders made a final plea for votes on Friday ahead of Sunday’s elections as investors fret whether Lisbon can contain its sovereign debt crisis.
Polls put the opposition centre-right Social Democratic Party, led by Pedro Passo Coelho, ahead of the outgoing Socialist government.
But surveys suggest they will not beat Prime Minister Jose Socrates’ party outright and will have to form a coalition.
The Social Democrats have ruled out governing with the Socialists.
If short of an outright majority in parliament, the Social Democrats are more likely to team up with the pro-business People’s Party.
The next government will have to enact spending cuts agreed under a 78-billion-euro EU and IMF bailout amid high unemployment and a shrinking economy.
Last year, Portugal ran the fourth-biggest eurozone deficit at 9.1 percent of gross domestic product.
Under the deal, that number must shrink to 3 percent within the next three years.