Greece’s third attempt to form a coalition government after Sunday’s inconclusive election has ended in failure.
Despite a final push by leaders of the once-dominant socialist and conservative parties, no deal was reached and new elections look likely.
They were both punished over austerity by voters.
Opinion polls indicate the main beneficiary of a fresh vote would be Alexis Tsipras whose radical Left Coalition already scored second place last weekend. He has pledged to tear up Greece’s international bailout deal.
Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos, third in line to try his luck at government building, will report back to President Karolos Papoulias. The head of state can then attempt his own mediation but the chance of success looks slim to say the least.