Greece to go back to the polls after President fails to form Coalition

ATHENS: Greece will be going to elections next month after its President failed to form a Coalition government in a last-ditch attempt to break a deadlock between political parties.

The President, Karolos Papoulias, met yesterday with the heads of five of the seven parties that won seats, in an effort to find agreement after elections on May 6 produced an inconclusive vote.

But late last night The Guardian reported the leader of the Independent Greeks party, Panos Kammenos, emerged from the meeting and told reporters the talks had failed, which meant new elections would be held in June.

''The news has sent the euro tumbling to a new four-month low of $1.2786 against the dollar,'' The Guardian reported. Shares were also falling across Europe.

Excluded from the talks was the neo-fascist party Golden Dawn, despite winning 21 seats in the 300-seat parliament.

The leaders of the conservative New Democracy, social-democratic Pasok and pro-European Democratic Left said the President had suggested creating a government of ''personalities'' with broad parliamentary support, following talks on Monday that failed to produce a solution.


''The effort to form a government continues … it is absolutely necessary to have the broader support of political parties to attain such a viable government,'' New Democracy's leader, Antonis Samaras, said after meeting Mr Papoulias.

The leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left party (Syriza), which came second in the elections, refused to attend Monday's meeting. Its leader, Alexis Tsipras, had said he would not join or support any pro-bailout coalition. He wanted the terms of a €130 billion ($167 billion) international European Union and International Monetary Fund deal to be scrapped or renegotiated.

Initially, the conservative New Democracy, which came first, the socialist Pasok, which came in third, and the small Democratic Left party were looking to form a coalition capable of commanding a majority. But that option failed after all three insisted they also needed the support of Syriza due to its strong election showing.

However, Mr Papoulias is hoping the three parties, who between them command 168 MPs in the 300-seat parliament, will support a pro-bailout technocratic government, similar to that led by Mario Monti in Italy.

On May 6 voters punished the country's mainstream pro-austerity parties, New Democracy and Pasok, for their handling of the crisis, voting for smaller parties to the right and left.

The political uncertainty gripping Greece has alarmed its creditors, which have warned that it must adhere to the terms of its two international bailouts if it hopes to continue receiving funds that have kept the country solvent since May 2010.

Meanwhile in Brussels, the European Commission insisted that it was dedicated to keeping Greece in the eurozone.

Guardian News & Media/Deutsche Presse-Agentur