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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 21 May, 2019

Greece: Pro-bailout parties announce 'preliminary' coalition deal

New Democracy and PASOK will hope to confirm a deal today, while Democratic Left may also be taken on board.

Antonis Samaras will today continue meeting with the leaders of PASOK and Democratic Left, hoping to confirm a programme for government with both.
Antonis Samaras will today continue meeting with the leaders of PASOK and Democratic Left, hoping to confirm a programme for government with both.
Image: Petros Giannakouris/AP

THE LEADER of the largest party in the new Greek parliament, New Democracy, has said he has reached a preliminary deal to form a coalition with the third-largest party which also supports the EU-IMF bailouts.

Antonis Samaras, the leader of the centre-right party, said talks with PASOK – the socialist party which has ruled for the last four years, and oversaw Greece’s entry into the first bailout programme – would allow it to form “a government of national salvation”.

PASOK has also voiced hope for a full deal to be agreed today, but has insisted that the new government should include other parties including the radical leftist Syriza, which has already ruled out taking part in any New Democracy-led coalition.

In order to address this concern – and to pad out the government’s majority in the 300-seat parliament – Samaras will today continue talks with Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of Democratic Left, hoping to bring it into the coalition aswell.

Samaras’s conservatives won 129 of the 300 parliamentary seats, Syriza won 71 seats and Pasok 33 seats. Democratic Left, a pro-European movement, won 17 seats.

Samaras has promised to respect Greece’s international engagements but also said yesterday that there should be amendments to the harsh conditions of the bailout deal “so the Greek people can escape from today’s torturous reality”.

“The country cannot remain ungoverned even for an hour,” Greek President Carolos Papoulias said yesterday, as he formally gave Samaras a three-day mandate in which to form a government.

World stock markets initially rallied in reaction to Sunday’s elections and the euro rose sharply against the dollar, but the gains quickly petered out amid broader concerns about other indebted euro economies like Italy and Spain.

Syriza, which has called for the EU-IMF bailout deal to be scrapped and renegotiated from scratch, won more than a quarter of the vote in Greece’s most important elections since the end of military rule in 1974.

Europe and the United States have urged Greece to move quickly to form a new government and enact reforms under the terms of a controversial multi-billion bailout deal with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Additional reporting by AFP.

Read: Greece: Pro-bailout parties head into coalition talks

Explainer: Everything you need to know about the crucial election in Greece

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Gavan Reilly

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