Greece’s two main pro-bailout parties clinched enough votes to form a government in knife-edge elections, as world powers pushed for a new cabinet as soon as possible to ease global fears. Antonis Samaras, the leader of the conservative New Democracy (ND) bloc said, “Today, the Greek people expressed their will to stay anchored with the euro. We ask all political forces that share the aim of keeping the country in the euro… to join a government of national unity. The country doesn’t have a minute to lose”. Preliminary official results showed ND in the lead with 30.04 percent.
Samaras pledged to honour Greece’s commitments, but said he wants to ease the terms of an unpopular EU/IMF bailout deal that imposed harsh austerity measures in return for a multi-billion rescue package. The IMF is pressing for urgent talks with Greece as early as next week and the Eurogroup in Brussels urged parties to move “rapidly” to set up a new government that would implement key reforms. The IMF and the EU pledged support for the next Greek government. EU leaders urged ND and its likely coalition partner, the socialist PASOK bloc, not to hesitate to form a new administration to lead Greece out of its debt crisis.
Samaras’s main rival, Alexis Tsipras, head of the leftist anti-austerity party SYRIZA, conceded defeat and ruled out joining any coalition. “We represent a majority of people opposed to the bailout deal”, said Tsipras, whose party came second with 26.57 percent of the vote. Coalition talks should begin on Monday, with the most likely ally for ND being PASOK. The two have dominated Greek politics for decades and many blame them for the current woes. With a sense of crisis hanging over Greece, there was little celebration for ND on the streets of Athens. Only around 100 supporters greeted Samaras in central Syntagma Square.
18 June 2012
As quoted in Voice of Russia World Service
This is being “spun” furiously. ND didn’t win… that’s clear from earlier reportage. PASOK is on the way down, and if it becomes a willing stooge for ND, it may sign its death warrant; SYRIZA could replace it as the main leftist bloc in Greece. Therefore, it’s NOT in PASOK’s interest to join a coalition that’d simply rubberstamp the current state of affairs. The talks could fail, as they did in May. ND does not have the votes to rule alone. There’s a bit to go on this road, kids… stay tuned.