Greek president in last ditch coalition effort

Greek President Karolos Papoulias called for the leaders of Greece’s political parties to meet

Written by Associated Press | Athens | Published: May 13, 2012 12:57 am

Greek President Karolos Papoulias called for the leaders of Greece’s political parties to meet on Sunday,in a last ditch effort to broker a deal for a coalition government and avoid another general election.

Papoulias took the step Saturday after Greece’s socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos officially gave up the mandate to form a coalition government,after three rounds of negotiations proved fruitless.

Papoulias’ office announced that the president would meet initially with the heads of the three parties that won the most votes in last Sunday’s inconclusive elections — the conservative New Democracy,radical left-wing Radical Left Coalition (Syriza) and socialist PASOK. He will then individually meet with the leaders of the other four parties that won enough votes for parliamentary seats — the right-wing nationalist Independent Greeks,the Communists,the extreme-right Golden Dawn and the moderate left Democratic Left.

The format was designed to bring everyone to the table,as Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras had threatened to boycott the talks rather than sit at the same table with Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos.

If Papoulias fails to broker a coalition agreement,Greece will have to hold new elections next month,most likely on June 10 or 17,prolonging political uncertainty and bringing Greece’s euro membership into question.

Venizelos was the third party leader to try to cobble together a governing coalition after elections last Sunday gave no party enough parliamentary seats to form a government.

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