Party leaders fail to reach unity deal, president to try next

Political leaders failed on Friday to agree on the formation of a unity government and unless President Karolos Papoulias is able to broker a last-minute deal between Greece’s bickering political parties over the next few days, the country will head for new elections next month.
The leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), Alexis Tsipras, rejected on Friday night a proposal to enter a government that would include PASOK, New Democracy and Democratic Left. The idea was put to Tsipras by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who had earlier obtained the agreement of ND leader Antonis Samaras and Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis. The latter qualified his acceptance by saying that he would only enter an administration with ND and PASOK if SYRIZA joined as well.

However, SYRIZA shot down any chances of an agreement, arguing that he did not have enough guarantees that the unity government would stop applying austerity measures as part of the bailout Greece has agreed with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

“I want to stress that the rejection of this offer is not being given by me or by SYRIZA but by the Greek people and their vote on Sunday,” said Tsipras, whose party wants to rewrite the terms of the loan agreement despite the EU and IMF’s insistence that only small changes can be made.


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