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Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 13:04 GMT
Coalition talks collapse in Austria
People's Party leader Wolfgang Schuessel (right) meets Austrian President Thomas Klestil
Schuessel (right) may now try to form a minority government

Coalition negotiations between the Austrian conservative People's Party and the Greens have broken down.

Election results
An all-night negotiating session failed to break the deadlock on pension reform, university fees and the purchase of new fighter jets.

It is not clear where the People's Party led by Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel goes from here, but some analysts believe it could be considering a minority government.

The collapse of the talks leaves Austria without a government - almost three months after its snap general election in November.

Growing impatience

Forming a coalition in Austria is traditionally a long drawn-out process.

Joerg Haider
Haider's flip-flop resignation policy has added to confusion

But opinion polls here attest to a growing sense of impatience that there is still no government.

After weeks of exploratory talks, the People's Party, the winner in November's general election, finally opened formal coalition negotiations with the Green Party last week.

If they had succeeded, it would have been Europe's first conservative-green coalition.

Earlier, the People's Party has backed off from holding coalition talks with the Social Democrats, accusing them of being too demanding.

And it has been reluctant to renew its pact with the far-right Freedom Party, after an internal power struggle led by Jorg Haider toppled the last coalition in September.

See also:

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