On friday evening, the radical left refused to form a coalition government with the conservatives, the socialists and the small party of the democratic left (dimar). These three parties together also had a relatively comfortable majority in athens, with 168 of the 300 deputies voting for them. But dimar in particular wanted to bring the radical left on board at all costs.
After the no vote of the radical left alliance (syriza), the chances of forming a coalition government in athens are minimal. Monday will probably decide whether a pro-european government will be formed in athens or whether new elections will be necessary. State president karolos papoulias now has the floor. He must hold final talks with the heads of all parties under the constitution in order to persuade them to form a government after all if possible.
Syriza leader alexis tsipras said on television after this evening’s round of negotiations: "the socialists and the conservatives are trying to form a government that will continue the austerity program"." Both parties had sent letters to chancellor angela merkel and IMF chief christine lagarde accepting the austerity program. "The austerity pact has been condemned by the people and no government should continue it," tsipras continued. All austerity measures had to be withdrawn, he demanded.
Socialist leader evangelos venizelos deplored the attitude of the radical left. "The people have instructed us to cooperate," he said. "I hope that everyone will think twice at the next meeting under the president of the republic."Venizelos wants to give up the mandate to form a government this saturday. Previously, attempts by the conservatives and the radical left to form a government had failed.
Venizelos had proposed to form a government with the broad support of all parties in order to secure the european course of greece and the country’s remaining in the euro zone. Moreover, this government was to try to ease the austerity policy.
The small left-wing party dimar (19 deputies), like the conservatives (108 deputies), had voted in favor of forming an alliance with the socialists (41 deputies), with the participation of the second strongest force, the radical left (55 deputies). The left-wing radicals are in favor of greece remaining in the eurozone, but demand an immediate freeze of the austerity program.
The federal government also wants to keep greece in the eurozone. "This goal has not changed," government spokesman steffen seibert said in berlin. He added, however, that there was no possibility of relaxing the agreements with the international lenders. Seibert rejects claims that europe is dictating to athens what to do: "there is no austerity dictate."
Rating agency fitch issued an urgent warning against greece leaving the eurozone. In this case, all credit ratings for government securities of the euro countries – including germany – would presumably be placed under closer scrutiny, fitch said. Countries like france, italy, spain or belgium would then be threatened with a downgrade. Whether and how much the ratings would fall would depend on the reaction of european politics.
Conservative leader samaras held out hopes of compromise in athens on friday. The theses of his nea dimokratia (ND) and the ideas of the socialists and the dimar are "very similar," he said after a conversation with venizelos. According to the latest polls, the radical left would become the strongest party in the new elections with 23.8 percent.
Tsipras rejects new austerity programs for 2013/14 amounting to 11.5 billion euros, which the "troika" of international lenders (EU, ECB, IMF) wants to negotiate in athens in june. The left-wing radicals are also demanding a gradual abolition of the austerity programs already agreed with the EU.
Greece can only count on further billions in aid from the other euro countries if it implements the savings and reform plans agreed with the EU and the international monetary fund (IMF). If the money tap was turned off, greece would be broke by the end of june.
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