International

In Greece, Third Bid For Coalition Government Fails

Greece's radical leftist party Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras (L) shakes hands with Socialists leader Evangelos Venizelos before their meeting at the Greek parliament in Athens on Friday. Venizelos admitted that he had failed in a last-ditch bid to form a government after Syriza key leftist party ruled out joining a pro-austerity coalition. i i

Greece's radical leftist party Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras (L) shakes hands with Socialists leader Evangelos Venizelos before their meeting at the Greek parliament in Athens on Friday. Venizelos admitted that he had failed in a last-ditch bid to form a government after Syriza key leftist party ruled out joining a pro-austerity coalition. Louisa Gouliamaki /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Louisa Gouliamaki /AFP/Getty Images
Greece's radical leftist party Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras (L) shakes hands with Socialists leader Evangelos Venizelos before their meeting at the Greek parliament in Athens on Friday. Venizelos admitted that he had failed in a last-ditch bid to form a government after Syriza key leftist party ruled out joining a pro-austerity coalition.

Greece's radical leftist party Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras (L) shakes hands with Socialists leader Evangelos Venizelos before their meeting at the Greek parliament in Athens on Friday. Venizelos admitted that he had failed in a last-ditch bid to form a government after Syriza key leftist party ruled out joining a pro-austerity coalition.

Louisa Gouliamaki /AFP/Getty Images

Evangelos Venizelos was the third politician mandated by the Greek president to form a coalition government.

Today, reports the BBC, after meeting with the leaders of different parties, Venizelos emerged empty-handed.

"I am going to inform the president of the republic tomorrow and I hope that, during the meeting with Carolos Papoulias, each party will assume its responsibilities," Venizelos told the BBC.

The Greek Parliament has been deadlocked since last Sunday's inconclusive general elections. If the politicians can't come to an agreement, another round of elections — sometime next month — may be called.

So what's the big deal, you ask? Basically, Greece's membership in the European Union is on the line. Here's how The New York Times explains it:

"There are fears that a new round of elections will fuel social discontent as well as interfere with a series of important deadlines. Apart from paying a bond that comes due in May, Greece must identify $14.8 billion in spending cuts for 2013 and 2014, equivalent to 5.5 percent of Greece's gross domestic product, and complete a recapitalization of its cash-starved banks."

Today, Germany warned Greece had to go through with its austerity measures — the spending cuts — if it wants bailout money to pay off its bonds.

Here's Reuters with what German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said today:

"'The future of Greece in the euro zone lies in the hands of Greece,' Westerwelle told the Bundestag lower chamber.

"'We want to help and we will help Greece, but Greece has to be ready to accept help. If Greece strays from the agreed reform path, then the payment of further aid tranches won't be possible. Solidarity is not a one way street,' he said."

"The political instability has alarmed Greece's European creditors and rocked the Athens stock exchange, which closed 4.52 percent down Friday even before news of the failure to reach an agreement broke. The exchange has fallen every day this week except Thursday," the AP reports.

The Times reports that the president may try and strong-arm a coalition this weekend.

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