Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Another Greek election likely as unity efforts fail

ATHENS, Greece — Left-wing leader Alexis Tsipras threw in the towel Wednesday on efforts to form a government in politically fractured Greece, deepening the feeling of instability here and making another snap election more likely.

Tsipras' radical Syriza party was the surprise second-place finisher in Sunday's general election after a campaign in which he vowed to roll back punishing austerity cuts and tear up Greece's bailout agreements with its international lenders.

But after two days of talks with other political leaders, the brash and energetic Tsipras was unable to stitch together a working coalition in Greece's highly fragmented new Parliament.

Today, the task of trying to put together a government will fall to Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos, the former finance minister. But few expect him to succeed where first New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and then Tsipras failed. President Karolos Papoulias would then try to bring the leaders together to form a government of national unity. But many analysts expect that, in the end, Papoulias will announce a new election to take place as early as June 17. The volatility comes as Greece is on the hook to approve deep public spending cuts.

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