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Last-ditch bid to form coalition

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Greece's socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos offers his hand to the leader of the Radical Left Coalition party Alexis Tsipras in Athens (AP)

Greece's socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos offers his hand to the leader of the Radical Left Coalition party Alexis Tsipras in Athens (AP)

Greece's socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos offers his hand to the leader of the Radical Left Coalition party Alexis Tsipras in Athens (AP)

Greek President Karolos Papoulias has called the leaders of Greece's political parties to meetings in a last-ditch effort to broker a deal for a coalition government.

Mr 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 Syriza and socialist PASOK. He will then meet individually with the leaders of the other four parties that won enough votes for parliamentary seats.

If he fails to broker a coalition agreement, Greece will have to hold new elections next month.

The move came after Greek socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos handed back the mandate to seek partners for a coalition government after three rounds of negotiations proved fruitless.

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