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Monday, May 14, 2012

Anger Simmers Over Austerity In Greece

Protesters hold a banner that reads: ''Debt write-off'', during a May Day protest in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, where more than 8,000 people marched in protests centered on the country's harsh austerity program. (AP)

In Greece, party leaders headed back to the negotiating table Monday, after failing to agree Sunday on a new coalition government.

The national elections eight days ago ended in a deadlock, with no party winning enough seats to form a government. But the chances of forming a coalition are low, now that one leftist party has pulled out of the talks.

The Greek president had called the four main parties to try to form an emergency government to avoid new elections.

But the radical far left Syriza party said it would not back any coalition which supported austerity. And the moderate Democratic Left party in Greece said it will not join pro-bailout parties in a coalition without Syriza.

This brings Greece one step closer to new elections, and casts doubt on the country’s membership in the Euro currency union and the European Union as a whole.

The BBC’s Richard Galpin, the former Athens correspondent, is back in Greece to gauge the mood of the people, who are bristling under the country’s tough austerity measures.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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