Greece tries to form government again

2012-05-15 11:02

  • Greece
    This guide aims to be a strong incentive to the inquisitive voyager to Greece. Now R394.95
    buy now

Athens - Greece tries again on Tuesday to form a government, hoping a technocrat solution to disputes over a tough EU-IMF bailout deal will avoid new polls and keep it in the eurozone as time runs down fast.

Leaders from all bar the far-right parties that won seats in inconclusive 6 May polls will meet at on Tuesday to try and get the country "out of a dead end", Socialist Pasok party head Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday.

Time is tight - parliament convenes on Thursday and if no government is in place, new polls will have to be called, prolonging an agonising crisis by another month to the dismay of Greece's EU partners and the markets.

President Carolos Papoulias met Venizelos and heads of the conservative New Democracy and radical Democratic Left, proposing on Monday in the absence of any other solution a government of "distinguished and non-political figures".

"I think time is against us," Papoulias told the meeting, adding: "I am terrified at the idea of the problems facing the country" in the coming days.

A first test comes on Tuesday with a government bond sale, which will be closely watched after European financial markets tumbled on Monday at the prospect that the eurozone debt crisis could now snag troubled Spain or even Italy.

Leaving the euro

The markets rebounded slightly on Tuesday as investors welcomed news that Germany avoided recession in the first quarter of the year, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gaining 0.33% to 5 483.72 points.

In the 6 May polls, Greek voters roundly rejected the tough austerity measures the outgoing technocrat government of Lucas Papademos agreed to in return for the €240bn EU-IMF bailout accord.

Picking up on a groundswell of opposition across Europe to governments that put austerity before growth, both left and right gained at the expense of New Democracy and Pasok, which had supported Papademos to get the debt deal done.

In recent months senior officials have more openly raised the prospect of Greece leaving the euro, but on Monday the head of eurozone finance ministers group hit back strongly, insisting that Athens was staying put.

"I don't envisage, not even for one second, Greece leaving," Jean-Claude Juncker said after the 17 eurozone partners unanimously affirmed their "unshakable desire" to keep Greece in the club.

"This is nonsense, this is propaganda," he said, adding that the Eurogroup "will do everything possible" to prevent a Greek exit and that "absolutely no one argued in that direction".

Opposition to technocrat solution

There can be little doubt about the seriousness of the situation.

Charles Dallara, who as head of the Institute of International Finance helped negotiate a massive private creditor bond write-down for Greece as part of the EU-IMF bailout, warned that the cost of failure would be too high.

"I believe that the cost to Greece, the cost to Europe and the cost to the entire global economy may still be enough to cause Greek politicians and European politicians to pause before they pull the trigger on a Greek exit."

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said on Monday after the announcement of Tuesday's talks that "everyone must take their responsibilities. ... Our mandate all together is to build a government".

Democratic Left head Fotis Kouvelis, who had earlier on Monday said there was no chance of a deal if the radical left Syriza party was not included, indicated that he would go to Tuesday's meeting but poured cold water on the technocrat option.

"I told the president ... that a government formed by technocrats and personalities means the defeat of politics. ... I expressed the view that I am against it," he said.

Wants it both ways

For Greeks, the situation is both difficult and confusing.

Many want to remain in the eurozone for the benefits it brings but strongly oppose the tough EU-IMF austerity measures as the country languishes in recession for a fifth year.

Greece wants it both ways, "to remain in the eurozone but not have the loan agreement", said unemployed Velisarios.

"That is what the majority wants ... [but] of course, something like that can't happen."

Read more on:    carolos papoulias  |  greece

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


DA ad scores nearly half a millions hits on YouTube

The DA's "Ayisafani" (It's not the same) election TV advert - originally pulled off the air by the SABC - has garnered nearly half a million views on YouTube.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Saturday Newlands - 12:32 PM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    DELAYS between Wynberg Hill and UCT due to 2 Oceans Marathon
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.85

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.