Greece raced to form a coalition with broad support by yesterday’s end of after an election victory by pro-bailout parties which eased fears of a Greek eurozone exit and brought relief to world markets.
“There is a categorical imperative to form the government today,” Greek President Carolos Papoulias said before giving a formal mandate for negotiations to conservative leader Antonis Samaras, whose New Democracy party won the election. “The country cannot remain ungoverned for even an hour.”
The 61-year-old Samaras said: “A national agreement is an imperative called for by everyone. We need to resolve the question immediately.”
He also said there should be amendments to the conditions of an EU-IMF bailout deal “so the Greek people can escape from today’s torturous reality.”
New Democracy won 129 of the 300 parliamentary seats in Sunday’s vote, opening the path for a coalition with the third-placed socialist PASOK party, which won 33 seats, but has called for other leftist parties to be included.
Europe and the US urged Greece to act quickly to form a new government and proceed with urgent reforms to meet the terms of bailout loans that have kept the Greek economy on life support for the past two years.
The anti-austerity leftist SYRIZA party and leader Alexis Tsipras came second with 71 seats. It has ruled out joining a coalition, saying the harsh conditions for the bailout deal should be scrapped altogether.
“There is no alternative to a coalition between the right and the socialists since the key issue at stake was the formation of a pro-euro government,” said Thomas Gerakis, head of the Marc Polling Institute.
Political analyst Yiannis Loulis said: “The government will be fragile, with a fragile popular base, and I do not think it is going to last very long.”
“It was mainly a vote of fear against the exit from the euro, not a real support of the reforms,” he added.