President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias concluded yesteday a first round with political leaders who failed to agree on a national unity government. In the first meeting with the leaders of the three major parties, Antonis Samaras (ND), Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA) and Evangelos Venizelos (PASOK), it was evident that differences were not bridged, since talks quickly turned into an axchange of accusations.
During the meeting, a brief report was presented to the leaders on the financial situation of the country, written by outgoing Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.
According to media reports, Antonis Samaras blamed Alexis Tsipras for not agreeing to support a coalition government with ND, PASOK and Democratic Left, headed by Fotis Kouvelis. The latter had said that he would only enter an administration with ND and PASOK if SYRIZA joined as well.
“They are not asking for agreement, they are asking us to be their partners in crime and we will not be their accomplices,” said Alexis Tsipras. “The memorandum has been rejected by the Greek people. No government has the right to apply it,” he added. “The issue is the austerity measures the Greek people have suffered for two years.”
“Despite the impasse at the meeting we had with the president, I hold on to some limited optimism that a government can be formed,” said Venizelos. “The moment of truth has come. We either form a government or we go to elections.” (protothema.gr)
Samaras was the only leader to make a statement to journalists before the meeting with Papoulias. “The Greek people have not just sent a message, they have issued an order to change policy but to remain in Europe,” he said according to Kathimerini. “It is an order to cooperate and form a viable government that will last until the European elections. It has to be a government that is above and beyond specific personalities.”
Samaras’s comment was in line with what was agreed with PASOK and Democratic Left earlier this week. The three parties agreed that an ecumenical government should be formed with the aim of staying in power until 2014.
President Papoulias’ meetings with the rest of political leaders of parties entering the Parliament (Democratic Left, Independent Greeks, Communist Party, Golden Dawn) were concluded yesterday evening.
Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos acknowledged the need a government to be formed, presenting a series of conditions for his party’s participation in a national unity government scheme.
A second meeting of the political leaders is scheduled later this evening, although Tsipras said that he would not attend.
If no deal is reached, a caretaker government will be appointed, headed by the president of the Supreme Court, Council of State or the Court of Audit.