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Greek parties head into coalition negotiation; fears of imminent euro exit recede
ATHENS, Greece (AP) ' Greek conservative leader Antonis Samaras is to launch coalition-building talks after coming first in national elections that follow weeks of uncertainty over the debt-crippled country's future in Europe's joint currency.
With 129 of Parliament's 300 seats, Samaras' New Democracy party lacks enough legislators to govern alone, and must seek allies among the smaller pro-bailout Socialists.
With 99.9 percent of the vote counted Monday, New Democracy has 29.66 percent of the vote, followed by the Syriza radical left coalition at 26.89 percent.
The conservatives have pledged to respect the austerity pledges Greece made to secure its vital international bailouts.
Syriza, which has ruled out cooperation with Samaras, campaigned on a promise to renege on the commitment for further austerity and reforms, without which the rescue loans would stop.