Greek Radical Left Leader Refusing Coalition Talks

Posted May 13th, 2012 at 8:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The leader of a group of Greek far-left parties, which finished second in last week's parliamentary elections, is refusing to take part in more talks to form a coalition government.

Alexis Tsipras said Sunday he will not become what he calls an accomplice in a crime against Greek society.

He said those who govern Greece and support the deep spending cuts demanded by the European Union did not get the message of the voters.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias is struggling to broker talks between the three top party leaders to form a new coalition government and avoid another round of parliamentary elections.

None of the top three parties in last week's vote — conservative New Democracy, radical left Syriza, and the socialist PASOK — won enough parliamentary seats to vote to form a government. And, when given the chance, the party chiefs were not able to find enough support to form a coalition on their own.

The talks are scheduled to resume Monday.

The New Democracy and PASOK parties could form a coalition if the small Democratic Left party decides to join them. But that party has so far refused to join unless Syriza does.

The previous Greek government — a New Democracy-PASOK coalition — agreed to demands from its international lenders for deep spending cuts in exchange for the country's second bailout in two years. This includes slashing government jobs, raising taxes, and cutting pensions. Greeks have taken to the streets in sometimes violent protests against the bailout plans.