Greek Parties Ready To Form Pro-Bailout Coalition
The Greek centre-left parties on Wednesday agreed to back the New Democracy party in its effort to form a new government but are reluctant to placing their political leaders in governmental offices, as the new government is expected to face a bitter struggle to bring economy to a normal development after five years of crisis which made it compulsory for the state to cut a deal with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank by which Athens agreed to impose austerity measures in exchange for a bailout fund.
Antonis Samaras, the leader of New Democracy, is expected to meet with the leaders of PASOK and the Democratic Left and cut a deal by the end of the day. Samaras has a three-day mandate to form a government, otherwise risking to throw the country into the same political chaos it was in the wake of the first parliamentary election, in May.
On that occasion, the leftist party Syriza came second in the election, as it did in June, and its refusal to form a coalition with the New Democracy and PASOK led to a new round of elections.
If a government will be formed, it will have to deal with the need to soften the measures which made the parties that agreed to them so unpopular. Reuters argues that if Samaras does create a government, he will have to deal with the economic situation in the country, and with the fact that he must keep together a coalition formed of its traditional political adversaries.
Democratic Left supported a motion to back the coalition but refused to send members of its leadership to become part of the government, which Reuters considers to be a sign of lack of commitment to the new government.
The same is said to be the case with PASOK, the party that was in power until early this year, and took the blame for the austerity measures that changed the lifestyle of the Greek people. PASOK and New Democracy signed an agreement by which they promised to uphold the measures agreed with the international lenders, whichever of them comes to power after the elections.
Syriza, on the other hand, made it clear that it did not want to participate in such an agreement, and refused after May 6, and refuses still, to cooperate with the parties that ruled before, saying that the vote of the Greeks showed that the people disagreed with the austerity measures.
Alexis Tsipras refused to work with PASOK and New Democracy, placing the entire country at risk of being eliminated from the eurozone, though the Syriza announced that it was in favor of remaining in the zone, which seems to be the choice of the Greek too.
Reuters reports that Evangilos Venizelos, the leader of PASOK, angrily disputed with the senior leaders of the party against nominating ministers in the new cabinet, which will be led by the right. The two leftist parties have the possibility of appointing technocrats whom to offer political backing.
New Democracy scored a narrow victory against Syriza, and with the 50 seats in the parliament as bonus and the seats of PASOK has 160 seats, to which it may add the Democratic Left votes to make a comfortable 179 seats. The Greek parliament has 300 seats and it only takes 151 seats to have a majority.
Though it may be made, the majority is still very weak, analysts believe, because of its make-up, but also because Germany, the most important sponsor of the bailout program, is suspicious of Antonis Samaras, who turned from opposing the bailout to carefully endorsing it.11