Political parties supporting Greece’s international bailout have begun work towards forging a government after an election victory over leftists staved off the prospect of the debt-laden country leaving the euro and brought relief to global markets.
Greek President Carolos Papoulias on Monday formally instructed Antonis Samaras, the leader of the conservative New Democracy party, to set about forming a coalition after its first place finish in Sunday’s elections.
“There is a categorical imperative to form the government,” said Papoulias. “The country cannot remain ungoverned for even an hour.”
“There is no time to waste,” Samaras earlier told reporters in Athens as jubilant, chanting supporters waved blue party flags. ”A national salvation government must bring economic growth and reassure Greeks the worst is over.”
With 99 per cent of ballots counted, New Democracy had won 29.7 per cent of the vote, ahead of Syriza on 27 per cent, though it needs the backing of the Socialist PASOK, for decades Greece’s largest party, to form a government.
A 50-seat bonus given to the party which comes first would give New Democracy and PASOK 162 seats in the 300-seat parliament, in an alliance broadly committed to the 130-billion-euros ($164bn) bailout.
Relegated to third place in an earlier, inconclusive May 6 election, PASOK has called for a broad coalition including Syriza, but says the most important goal is to form a government and put an end to political uncertainty.
PASOK officials told the Reuters news agency that party leaders would meet on Monday to decide whether to support Samaras by participating fully in government, or by voting with the coalition in parliament.
The new government might receive a helping hand from its eurozone peers with Germany’s foreign minister suggesting Athens might get more time to implement the cuts demanded of it.
But most economists say even that would leave Greece, into a fifth year of deep recession, facing a programme it cannot hope to deliver on.
Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras, 37, conceded defeat in Sunday’s vote but said his party would continue to fight against the bailout in opposition and would take power sooner or later.
“Very soon, the left will be in power,” Tsipras told supporters in central Athens after conceding defeat. “We begin the fight again tomorrow.”
Relief for Europe
The result came as a relief for Greece’s EU and International Monetary Fund lenders and eurozone partners who feared a Syriza victory would tip Greece over the edge and the common currency towards break-up.
But EU officials have made clear Greece must stick to its pledges in order to receive more funding.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first leader to call Samaras, telling him she would work together with him “on the basis that Greece will meet its European commitments.”
Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso, the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission respectively, urged Greek leaders to form a government quickly, saying: “The Greek people have spoken… We will continue to stand by Greece as a member of the EU family and of the Euro area.”
But the vote revealed a society deeply split between its desire to stay in the euro and deep-seated anger at salary, pension and job cuts that have hit the poorest citizens hardest.
A protest vote looked set to give the ultra-right Golden Dawn party 18 seats, repeating its success of May 6 despite a recent incident in which its spokesman threw water at one leftist opponent and slapped another during a TV debate.
- Somali robber sues UK £50k for ‘nightmares’ ~ English News, News 25 February, at 15 : 02 PM
- Booliska Magaalada Galkacayo oo dad usoo qab qabtay dilkii Nabadoon Gaboobe.iyado baryahan dawlda muqdisho qaskawaday ~ English News, Somali News 29 December, at 15 : 26 PM
- Somalia gets first woman Foreign minister ~ English News, News 5 November, at 20 : 15 PM
- shir mamuulka faroole xukunka loga qadi laha oo ka wada hadleen Beelha Abgaal iyo Reer Qardho kana dhacay USE ~ News, Puntland News 18 May, at 13 : 30 PM
- Sidee Loo Xusay 18 May 2013 +Damaashaadkii , Dabaaldegii Iyo Dhoolatuskii Maanta ~ News, Somali News 18 May, at 12 : 16 PM