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Greek leftists say ‘no’ to coalition, prepare for second election

Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday turned down a mandate to form a coalition government, saying that he was preparing for a second election in June, after a “painful” electoral defeat for his Syriza party.

Greek PM Mitsotakis says he has won decisive mandate to govern

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The conservative New Democracy party stormed to victory with 40.8 pct of the vote in Sunday’s poll which sent the leftist Syriza into a tailspin, polling 20.1 pct, the result of many voters’ disenchantment with its radical, anti-establishment style.

On Tuesday, Tsipras told President Katerina Sakellaropoulou that it was impossible to form a coalition government.

“I have no reason to hide that the election result came as a painful shock to us, unexpectedly painful,” Tsipras told reporters outside the presidential palace, apologizing to Syriza supporters. ”I personally take full responsibility for this result, but in my ethical dictionary taking responsibility means you stand and fight,” he said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of New Democracy, declined to seek a coalition on Monday, paving the way for a second vote on June 25 that he hopes his conservative party will win outright.

Without New Democracy, opposition parties do not have enough seats to form a ruling alliance, and all party leaders have indicated they will not hold exploratory talks. Syriza refers to the second vote as a “final battle” yet to come.

Tsipras said that Syriza’s primary responsibility was to “prevent the prospects of an almighty and uncontrollable ruler-prime minister” and ensure the presence of the left in Greece’s political landscape.

During the pre-election period, Syriza tried to persuade the Socialist PASOK party, which finished third in Sunday’s election, and leftist parties, including the Communist KKE, to back it in a coalition government.

But after its defeat, Syriza accused them of turning their back on its efforts to form a broader alliance against the conservatives.

That election will take place under a system of semi-proportional representation, with a sliding scale seat bonus, increasing the chances of an outright win for Mitsotakis’s party. All parties are eligible to run again.

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