18:48 GMT +3 hours28 November 2014
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Greece's Venizelos Rejects Mandate to Form Coalition Gov’t

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Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of the center-left Greek political party Pasok, rejected on Friday a presidential mandate to form a coalition government following Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of the center-left Greek political party Pasok, rejected on Friday a presidential mandate to form a coalition government following Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

 

Pasok finished third in the May 6 parliamentary elections, but the center-right New Democracy party and the following radical leftist party Syriza failed to form a coalition government and the president on Thursday granted a mandate to Venizelos’ party to do that.

 

The leader of Pasok said live on the Greek national television he decided to reject the mandate because Syriza refuses to join the coalition government.

 

“Syriza’s participation is the necessary condition [to form the government],” said Venizelos, who will have to officially inform President Karolos Papoulias of his decision on Saturday.

 

Papoulias will not have to gather a council of political parties’ leaders. If the council also fails to come to an agreement, the president will have to announce new parliamentary elections.

 

Greece held the first general election since the debt crisis hit the country in late 2009 and prompted Greek authorities to implement deeply unpopular austerity measures in exchange for bailout funds from the European Union and the International Monetary Funds to stave off a sovereign default.