A long period of instability looms for Greece after voters furious about tough austerity measures gave the two governing parties a hammering at the polls and boosted extremists at both ends of the political spectrum. The Coalition of the Radical Left, which opposes the terms of Greece's bailout, surged to second place with around 17% of the vote while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, which ran on an anti-immigration platform, is poised to enter Parliament for the first time after taking around 7% of the vote, reports the BBC.
New Democracy and Pasok, the center-right and center-left parties that had governed in a coalition since last November, saw their support collapse. New Democracy took 19%, down from 33.5% in 2009, and its leader says he aims to form a "government of national salvation." The parties have three days to form a governing coalition but analysts say that Parliament is now so fragmented that a deal may be impossible and new elections will be required. "We are talking about a complete collapse of the party system as we have known it, which opens up new concerns about Greece's ability to govern itself," a professor of political science in Athens tells the Guardian.