It is back to square one in Greece’s bid to form a new government after an inconclusive election that saw the two main parties punished over austerity.
Despite the drubbing, conservative New Democracy still topped the poll. Leader Antonis Samaras was asked by Greece’s president to form a coalition but he has failed, saying it is “impossible.”
He tried talking to Alexis Tsipras whose radical Left Coalition scored second place in Sunday’s vote. However Tsipras is staunchly anti-austerity and won’t join forces with the conservatives. That is because they and the Socialists of Evangelos Venizelos, also in on the coalition talks, agreed to painful belt-tightening in return for Greece’s bailout.
Further complicating efforts to form a new administration, New Democracy won’t work with the extreme-right Golden Dawn party which has won seats in parliament in an election breakthrough.