Monday, June 18, 2012

Struggle looms to form Greek coalition

Financial Times
June 17, 2012

Greece’s centre-right New Democracy (ND) party was poised on Sunday night to win the country’s second general election in six weeks after pushing the leftwing Syriza coalition into second place.

Antonis Samaras, its leader, now faces an uphill task to put together a viable coalition government to try to rebuild credibility with European partners and revive the country’s flagging bailout programme.

His proposal for an inclusive government of “national salvation” was rejected out of hand by Alexis Tsipras, the Syriza leader, saying his party would play the role of “an honourable opposition.”

Mr Tsipras’s own call for a “continuing struggle against the bailout”, reinforced by an impromptu late-night outdoor speech on Sunday in central Athens, suggested he was also preparing to take opposition to the streets.

Mr Samaras was due to receive a mandate to form a government from President Karolos Papouilias on Monday and start a first round of meetings with two potential coalition partners.

“There will be no new adventures . . . or political games,” Mr Samaras promised. “We will work with our European partners and add to our obligations the needed policies for growth and combating unemployment.”


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