Greek Coalition Talks Continue

Posted May 14th, 2012 at 4:45 am (UTC-5)
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Greek party leaders are to resume talks to form a coalition government Monday, hoping to avoid new parliamentary elections.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias has called the party leaders back for more negotiations after Sunday's talks failed.

The leader of a the radical left Syriza party, which finished second in last week's parliamentary elections, has refused to take part in more talks to form a coalition government.

Party leader Alexis Tsipras said Sunday that those who support the deep spending cuts demanded by the European Union did not get the message of the voters.

None of the top three parties in last week's vote — the conservative New Democracy, Syriza, and the socialist PASOK — won enough parliamentary seats to form a government. Nor were they able to find enough support to form a coalition on their own.

The president has until Thursday to broker a deal. If he fails, Greece will have to hold a new vote next month.

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. The plan includes slashing government jobs, raising taxes, and cutting pensions. Greeks have taken to the streets in sometimes violent protests against the bailout requirements.