Greece on Brink of New General Elections

World | May 14, 2012, Monday // 08:18|  views

If talks fail to produce a governing coalition, a new election will be scheduled in Greece for next month, most likely for June 17. Photo by

The negotiations to form a new Greek cabinet have failed with the leader of far-left party Syriza declaring he will not attend coalition talks on Monday.

Alexis Tsipras' move takes the country a step closer to elections. Current polls show the party, which opposes the austerity measures and the bailout loan, as favorite, BBC reports.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias had invited four parties, including Syriza, to further talks, after the next round of negotiation fell through, but Tsipras has already ruled out any deal with pro-bailout parties.

Both the center-right New Democracy and the socialist PASOK have so far been unable to form a new coalition. In theory, only the Democratic Left - which came seventh in the election, winning 19 seats - could provide those two parties with the support needed to form a coalition, but its leader, Fotis Kouvelis, has repeatedly said he would not do so without Syriza.

New Democracy and PASOK both agree to austerity measures in return for the last EU/IMF EUR 130 B bailout, but suffered at last weekend's general elections polls. Syriza, which came second, insists any new government must cancel the measures.

The 17 Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday where the "Greek" issue is said to top the agenda.

Leading European figures, including European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso, have warned that Greece must respect the terms of the bailout deal if it wants to remain in the Eurozone.

If, as expected, the talks fail to produce a governing coalition, a new election will be scheduled for next month, most likely for June 17.

The uncertainty has alarmed Greece's international creditors, who insist the country must keep to the terms of the bailout deal if it is to continue receiving funds and avoid bankruptcy.

Greece's Central Bank and the Finance Ministry are working on an emergency plan to prevent bankruptcy if the bailout loans come to a halt.

Leading news agencies report that according to analysts, funds needed to pay wages, retirement pensions, welfare and others top EUR 4 B a month and the Greek State only has funding for them until the end of June.

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Tags: greece, Alexis Tsipras, Syriza, New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos, financial crisis, instability, Karolos Papoulias, Eurozone, bailout, elections, coalition, talks, Central Bank


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