Greeks To Head Back To Ballot Box After Talks Fail

Greece will hold new elections after political leaders failed to agree on a governing coalition to run the economically-troubled country. In the meantime, a caretaker government will manage the country until the new vote can be held next month.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Greece has been politically paralyzed for nine days, ever since parliamentary elections revealed a nation bitterly divided. And now, coalition talks have failed between supporters and opponents of the international loans keeping Greece solvent. As Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens, a new round of elections is expected next month, but fears remain that Greece may renege on its bailout terms and be forced out of the eurozone.

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: The deal breaker in unity government negotiations is the coalition of the radical left, known as Syriza. Syriza came in a surprise second in May 6th parliamentary elections and is leading in the latest public opinion polls.

ALEXIS TSIPRAS: (Foreign language spoken)

KAKISSIS: Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras says the other parties are blackmailing Greeks into believing that suffering painful austerity measures is the only way to keep the euro. In fact, says Syriza economist Euclid Tsakalotos, Greece must stop austerity to save the eurozone.

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: If there is strong Greek government with a popular force and if this leads to changes in Spain and Portugal, different balance of forces leads to different policies.

KAKISSIS: But other Greek leaders say the country should approach the anti-austerity conversation with a unified voice. Fotis Kouvelis, who leads another anti-bailout party, the Democratic Left, says Syriza didn't give that voice a chance.

FOTIS KOUVELIS: (Foreign language spoken)

KAKISSIS: It seems from the very beginning, he said, some political forces only gave us one choice, for the country to hold new elections again. Those new elections will likely be held on June 17th. For NPR News, I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens.

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