Soldiers perform the changing of the guard outside the Greek presidential palace. Petros Giannakouris/AP
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Greece to hold second election after coalition talks are abandoned

Talks to try and form a techocrat government are abandoned after a two-hour meeting of the five main leaders.

GREECE’S VOTERS will be asked to return to the ballot boxes next month to elect a new parliament after political leaders abandoned talks to try and break common ground to share power.

A final two-hour meeting of the leaders from five of the seven parties represented in the last parliament, elected nine days ago, ended this afternoon with no deal on forming a permanent government.

Another meeting is due tomorrow, but a statement from the President said that meeting would only arrange the details of a caretaker government to succeed that of Lucas Papademos, the outgoing technocratic prime minister who is reportedly unwilling to remain in power for another month.

It is likely that the vote will be held on June 17, in just under five weeks’ time.

The possibility of finding a power-sharing coalition was always considered unlikely given the hardline stance taken by Syriza, the coalition of radical left-wing parties led by Alexis Tsipras, who had steadfastly refused to follow any policy which involved Greece having to remain within its EU-IMF bailout programmes.

The two parties which formed the previous technocrat government, led by Papademos – the centre-right New Democracy and the socialist PASOK party – had won a combined 149 seats in the election, two short of a majority.

The anti-bailout parties with the other 151 seats were unable to share power given the wider range of ideological differences between them.

The smallest party with 21 seats, Democratic Left – whose MPs include many who were previously members of PASOK – had been approached by New Democracy and PASOK to share power, but refused to participate in any government that did not include Syriza.

The far-left Communist Party refused to participate in the talks today, while the far-right Golden Dawn party were reportedly not invited to take part.

Read: Noonan urges Greek parties to form government and stay in the euro

More: EU chief: suggestion of Greek exit is ‘nonsense’ and ‘propaganda’

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