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Monday, May 14, 2012

Last Call For Greek Parties?

Negotiations to form a coalition government carried on over the weekend in Greece, and are due to continue this evening - in parallel with the meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels.

Here is a quick update of where the situation is at:
  • On Sunday, the leader of left-wing Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, announced that New Democracy, Pasok and Democratic Left had reached an agreement to form an emergency cabinet due to last for two years - i.e. until the end of the second EU-IMF bailout programme;
  • Democratic Left leader, Fotis Kouvelis (in the picture), denied Tsipras' claims as "defamatory lies". He made clear that no national unity government is possible without Syriza's participation;
  • In a last-ditch attempt at striking a deal, Greek President Karolos Papoulias has convened the leaders of New Democracy, Pasok, Syriza and Democratic Left for this evening (at 7.30pm in Athens, 5.30pm in London);
  • Tsipras has said he will not attend a meeting with "selected" political leaders. Instead, he challenged President Papoulias to hold talks with the leaders of all parties that won seats in the Greek parliament - with the exception of Neo-Nazis Golden Dawn party;
  • Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras' recalcitrant stance has not gone down well with Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis. He just told Greek Real FM radio that he has no intention of cooperating with Syriza, even after new elections.
The move by Syriza to call for cross party talks tonight could very well be little more than political posturing. Following the break-down of talks over the weekend Tsipras didn't come off too well, with all the other parties blaming him for the lack of progress. The recent polls showing that 78% of Greeks want to see a coalition which supports the euro could have played a role in convincing him to come back to the table - if only to save face and look to be participating constructively ahead of the new elections.

The situation remains very uncertain, but the general feeling is that tonight's round of talks with President Papoulias could really be the last chance to avoid new elections. Essentially, for this to happen, Kouvelis has to U-turn on his electoral promises and accept to enter a coalition with New Democracy and Pasok. However, the latest developments seem to suggest that new elections could, at this stage, be inevitable.

1 comment:

Rik said...

What happening in Greece itself is hardly relevant from a strategic point of view. This had 'will be messed up by the Greeks till the rest has enough of it', written all over it from the beginning of this crisis.
The UK should simply inventarise if this might require EU actions that need UK support and/or be a moment the the whole set up comes or can come under discussion. Subsequently if see so how to make the most of it.
In a more friendly package of course, like:
'we respect the democratic will of the Greek people', 'make the EU ready for the 21st century'.