Report: Greece

Greece enters ninth day of efforts to form government

Reuters/John Kolesidis

Deliberations about the formation of a Greek government continued Tuesday in Athens for the ninth consecutive day. Greek President Karolos Papoulias has convened a meeting this afternoon with the leaders of all political parties except for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn.

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On Monday evening a meeting widely described as a last ditch effort, ended without result but opened a new chapter to the ongoing saga. Papoulias proposed a non-partisan government of technocrats – a government of personalities, as it is known in Athens. Papoulias has already chaired two meetings at the presidential palace.

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Not only Antonis Samaras, of the mainstream right New Democracy party, but also Evangelos Venizelos, of the mainstream left Pasok, and Alexis Tsipras, of the hard-left Syriza, failed in their efforts to form viable governments on Saturday.

Samaras, Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of the small Democratic Left party, failed to reach a compromise on Sunday evening. Tsipras did not attend that meeting.

Now the pressure is on Panos Kammenos, the leader of the Independent Greeks, a populist right-wing party that split from New Democracy a few months ago and strongly objects to the bail-out agreement.

Kammenos was invited to the presidential palace to have a one-on-one conversation with Papoulias at one o’clock, one hour before the meeting of all political leaders.

Major right-wing politicians are talking about reuniting the conservative camp, so members of parliament from the Independent Greeks would be under intense pressure either to support a unity government or at least to offer a vote of tolerance.

All this amounts to a high-stake game of politics. Parties are trying to avoid being blamed for likely new elections while also attempting to lure as many voters as possible if elections become inevitable.

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