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Greek far-left leader gives up coalition bid, election near

Greek former Energy Minister and leader of the leftist Popular Unity party Panagiotis Lafazanis (L) seen here with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos

Greece’s far-left leader on Thursday formally gave up a bid to form a coalition government, allowing the country’s president to finally set a date for early elections after a week of fruitless political wrangling.

After using up all three days allowed, Popular Unity leader Panagiotis Lafazanis returned a mandate to form a government given to him as head of the third-largest bloc in parliament after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned last week.

“I think we can go to elections in keeping with the spirit of the constitution,” Lafazanis told Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos in a meeting at the president’s office.

The president is now expected to make one final attempt to check with party leaders on the odds of forming a coalition before installing a caretaker government to take the country to elections as early as Sept. 20. The announcement on the election is expected later on Thursday or Friday.

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