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Greek crisis: Syriza out of talks, second election likely

The leader of the far left party will not take part in coalition talks today.

Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras leaves the Presidential Palace yesterday.
Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras leaves the Presidential Palace yesterday.
Image: KOSTAS TSIRONIS/AP/Press Association Images

GREECE’S MEMBERSHIP OF the eurozone remains in serious doubt this morning as a second general election looms.

Talks to form a coalition will continue today but they will be without the leader of Syriza, one of the big winners of the first election. With 52 parliamentary seats, it is the second largest party in the fractured parliament after last Sunday’s vote.

According to reports on BBC News this morning, its leader Alexis Tsipras will not attend the talks today as the party says it will not enter government with anyone who agrees with international bailouts.

Syriza has taken a fierce anti-bailout stance throughout the whole election campaign.

“Syriza refuses to be a left-wing alibi for a government that will continue the policies the people rejected on May 6,” NET state television quoted Tsipras as saying.

In a last ditch effort, the country’s president Karolos Papoulias will try and persuade the remaining parties, including Pasok, Democratic Left and New Democracy, to form an emergency government today.

Independent Greeks – a right-wing nationalist offshoot of New Democracy who won 33 seats in the deadlocked election – has not been invited to take park in the discussions. Also out of the equation are the fifth-placed hardline Communists and extreme-right Golden Dawn.

Although New Democracy, Pasok and the Democratic Left could form a government together, all three have said they want Syriza to be there as well to ensure the leftist party has responsibility in government instead of benefiting from leading an opposition during an economic crisis.

The formal talks begin at 7.30pm (local time). If they are fruitless, a new election will be scheduled for next month. Polls last week have indicated that Syriza could win that vote outright – although still fail to hold a majority in parliament.

Meanwhile, heads of government from the EU member states are in Brussels today to discuss the crisis. Greece has been told by European leaders that it must stick to the terms of its IMF/EU bailout agreement in order to remain in the euro.

-Additional reporting by AP

Explainer: New elections? Euro exit? Just what is going on in Greece?>

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