Squabbles likely to send Greece to polls
TALKS to form a coalition government in Greece were to resume later yesterday, but the chances of a breakthrough had been greatly diminished after one of the biggest parties pulled out, bringing the country closer to new elections next month.
Efforts by President Karolos Papoulias to clinch a deal between squabbling party leaders ended on Sunday without a solution, a week after May 6 elections produced an inconclusive vote.
Negotiations were scheduled to resume yesterday evening with party leaders but the Coalition of the Radical Left party or Syriza, which came in second in the elections, said it refused to take part.
Its leader, Alexis Tripras, has repeatedly said he would not “join or support” a government imposing austerity measures in exchange for international bailouts.
That leaves the conservative New Democracy, which came first, the socialist Pasok, which came in third and the small Democratic Left party as the only remaining parties still able to form a coalition government.
Technically, all three parties could form a stable coalition but they have been insisting that they need the support of Syriza due to its strong showing in elections.
The political uncertainty gripping Greece has alarmed its creditors, who have warned that the country must adhere to the terms of its two international bailouts if it hopes to continue receiving funds that have kept the country solvent since May 2010.
Party leaders have been squabbling for the past week over whether the country should continue down the path of harsh austerity required for the European Union/international Monetary Fund loans or pull out of the deal.
If Papoulias fails to broker a deal, the country must hold new elections next month, most likely on June 17. A caretaker government would be appointed in the meantime, led by the president of the Supreme Court, Council of State or Court of Audit.
The latest opinion poll, published by To Vima newspaper on Sunday, confirmed recent surveys showing Syriza to be ahead of New Democracy due to its anti-bailout campaign.
The survey indicated that Syriza would win 20.5% in a new election, up from the 16.8% it polled on May 6.
New Democracy follows with 18.1% and Pasok, losing yet more votes, would reach 12.2%. — Sapa-dpa