Greece has devolved into political turmoil since parliamentary elections on May 6, and after politicians failed on Friday to form a new coalition government, there's only one more chance for the country's president before new elections are scheduled in June.
The country remains deeply divided on austerity measures, and it will be up to the Greek president to bring all party leaders together to atttempt to create a coalition government. Socialist party leader and former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos failed to resolve tensions this week, bringing the country into crisis mode.
PolicyMic will be live blogging the Greek election turmoil. To follow along in real-time, refresh this page.
UPDATES: 7:00 AM Finland's foreign minister said that Greece cannot remain in the euro zone if it tears up its bailout deal.
6:57 AM (5/14) Fotis Kouvelis, head of the Democratic Left party and a pivotal party leader, has said, "No unity government can emerge."
6:20 p.m. Officials say it is almost "100% certain" that Greece will have to hold new elections. Party leaders will be with President Karolos Papoulias, but his intervention looks doomed to fail. Athens may be on the verge of a total collapse, and Greece may have to withdraw from the euro zone.
6:12 PM (5/12): Reuters reports that banks are quietly preparing themselves to start trading a new Greek currency, the drachma. Planning behind the scenes is underway to abandon the euro. If Greece's debt problems force it to bring back national banknotes and coins, banks say they will be ready.
BACKGROUND: Greek President Karolos Papoulias called for the leaders of Greece’s political parties to meet on Sunday, in a last-ditch effort to broker a deal for a coalition government and avoid another general election.
Papoulias took the step Saturday after Greece’s socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos officially gave up the mandate to form a coalition government after three rounds of negotiations proved fruitless.
According to the Washington Post, Papoulias’ office announced that the president would meet initially with the heads of the three parties that won the most votes in last Sunday’s inconclusive elections — the conservative New Democracy, radical left-wing Radical Left Coalition (Syriza) and socialist PASOK. He will then meet individually with the leaders of the other four parties that won enough votes for parliamentary seats — the right-wing nationalist Independent Greeks, the Communists, the extreme-right Golden Dawn and the moderate left Democratic Left.
The format was designed to bring everyone to the table, as Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras had threatened to boycott the talks rather than sit at the same table with Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos.
In theory, the president’s talks with the party leaders could drag until the scheduled date for the opening of the new parliament, on May 17th. In practice, precedent shows that talks could take two or three days, George Katrougalos, a professor of constitutional law, told the Associated Press. It is also possible that an impasse could be reached Sunday.