Samaras to begin efforts to form coalition government

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras is due to begin the process of trying to form a coalition government on Monday after his party won Sunday’s elections, albeit without a clear majority.

With almost all the votes counted, support for New Democracy stood at 29.66 percent, compared to 26.89 for SYRIZA. PASOK was third with 12.28 percent, followed by Independent Greeks on 7.51, Golden Dawn on 6.92, Democratic Left on 6.26 and the Communist Party on 4.5 percent.

Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), the Ecologist Greens and the liberal alliance between Dimiourgia Xana (Recreate Greece) and Drasi all fell well short of the 3 percent threshold needed for them to enter Parliament.

In terms of seats in the House, this share of the votes translates into 129 for New Democracy, 71 for SYRIZA, 33 for PASOK, 20 for Independent Greeks, 18 for Golden Dawn, 17 for Democratic Left and 12 for the Communist Party.

Samaras is due to be called by President Karolos Papoulias on Monday afternoon to receive the mandate to form a government. He will have three days to do so.

Samaras is likely to turn first to PASOK and its leader Evangelos Venizelos as SYRIZA has indicated it has no intention of joining a coalition. It is likely that Samaras will also hold talks with Democratic Left in an effort to form as broad an alliance as possible.

Democratic Left’s central committee is due to meet at 5.30 p.m. on Monday to discuss what the party’s position will be.

New Democracy MP Yiannis Tragakis told Skai TV that he was confident that a ND-PASOK-Democratic Left government, which would have 179 seats, would be formed this week.

Caretaker Prime Minister Panayiotis Pikrammenos and his cabinet will remain in place until a government is formed.  

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