Greece holds second election after coalition talk fails
Greece will hold a second election in June after political leaders failed to form a coalition government after more than a week of negotiation, casting more doubt on bailout funds and the future of the common European currency.
Greek President Karolos Papoulias kicked off coalition talks with party leaders, aiming for a technocrat solution in resolving the political deadlock. After a third day of failed talks, the president said in a statement: “The process of seeking a compromise had been declared a failure and a new vote must be held.”
According to the presidency spokesman, party leaders would convene again on Wednesday to form a caretaker government to oversee a fresh election, expected to be held on 10th or 17th June.
“Unfortunately the country is on the road to elections under very negative conditions,” said Evangelos Venizelos, leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), after a two-hour meeting between five leaders.
Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said earlier there was no chance of a deal if the radical left Syriza party was not included. Opposing the government’s plan of a technocrat option, he said: “I told the president that a government formed by technocrats and personalities means the defeat of politics.”
Apart from Mr Venizelos and Mr Kouvelis, other participants of the meeting included Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza; Antonis Samaras, leader of the New Democracy party and Panos Kammenos, leader of Independent Greeks.
Negotiations over a new coalition government failed after inconclusive elections on 6th May, in which none of the top three parties won enough parliamentary seats to vote to form a government. The New Democracy and PASOK parties could form a coalition if the Democratic Left party decides to join them. But that party has so far refused to join unless Syriza does.
The prolonged instability might be pushing Greece nearer to an exit from eurozone. The anti-austerity Left Coalition party Syriza – the second largest in parliament – rejects the latest €130 billion bailout, which demands more austerity. “Syriza won’t betray the Greek people. We are being asked to agree to the destruction of Greek society.”
The 6th May elections saw Greek voters displaying their firm opposition to the tough austerity measures, exerting pressure to the country to head for a possible exit of eurozone. The caretaker government will announce whether the country will repay the €436 million bond that matures on Tuesday, as part of the EU-IMF deal.