Greek President Pitches New Government Plan
Greek President Karolos Papoulias
will attempt to persuade divided party leaders today to accept
his proposal for a government of prominent non-politicians to
steer the country and avert new elections as doubts mount that
Greece can avoid an exit from the euro area.
Papoulias will meet with all leaders of parties represented
in parliament except for an ultra-nationalist party today at 2
p.m. in Athens, said Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of Pasok,
the third-biggest party. Venizelos, who did not provide further
details of the president’s plan, spoke after meeting with
Papoulias and the leaders of two other parties yesterday.
“Pasok is taking a responsible stance,” Venizelos said in
comments televised live on state-run NET TV. “We support a
government of prominent figures as a necessary solution.”
The new plan threatens to extend the political gridlock
that has left the country without a government for more than a
week since the inconclusive May 6 elections. Democratic Left
leader Fotis Kouvelis, who attended yesterday’s meeting, said he
was opposed to the new plan and will attend today to press for
his unity-government proposal, which has already been rejected
by the second-biggest party, Syriza.
The task of finding agreement among the seven parties that
were elected to the Greek parliament on May 6 fell to Papoulias
on May 13 after a week of negotiations led by the three biggest
parties foundered. If his efforts fail, new elections will need
to be called.
Greece’s political impasse has raised the possibility
another vote will have to be held as early as next month, with
polls showing that could boost the anti-bailout Syriza to the
top spot. The standoff has reignited concern the country will
renege on pledges to cut spending as required by the terms of
its two bailouts negotiated since May 2010, and, ultimately,
leave the euro area.
Syriza, now Greece’s biggest anti-bailout party, defied
overtures to join the government, with leader Alexis Tsipras
boycotting yesterday’s meeting. Tsipras will attend the meeting
today, NET reported, without saying how it got the information.
Pasok, New Democracy and Democratic Left agreed last week
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