Coalition talks stall, Greece faces 'moment of truth'

By REUTERS
May 13, 2012 18:53

 
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ATHENS - Greek political leaders on Sunday ignored a final plea from the president to form a coalition government to avert a repeat election, pushing the debt-stricken nation closer to bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro zone.

Leaders of the three biggest parties met at the presidential mansion for a final attempt to bridge their differences, but the talks quickly hit an impasse as they traded accusations on a deeply unpopular bailout package tied to harsh spending cuts.

Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, who finished first in last week's election, pinned the blame on the far-left SYRIZA party, which flatly rules out backing a pro-bailout coalition with Samaras's New Democracy and Socialist PASOK parties.

"They are not asking for agreement, they are asking us to be their partners in crime and we will not be their accomplices," said Alexis Tsipras, who has become an overnight sensation since leading SYRIZA to a surprise second place in the vote.

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