Greek socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos has handed back the mandate to seek partners for a coalition government to the country’s president after three rounds of negotiations proved fruitless.
There is only one chance left for an agreement, when the president convenes all the party leaders for a last attempt at a deal.
If one is not found, new elections must be called.
Venizelos was the third party leader to try to find partners for a governing coalition after elections last Sunday gave no party enough votes to form a government.
Voters angry at the handling of the country’s severe financial crisis and two years of harsh austerity measures imposed in return for billions of euros in international rescue loans deserted the two main parties.