Greece enters ninth day of efforts to form government
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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.
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.
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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