Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Socialists Optimistic on Leading Greece out of Its Political Crisis

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Socialists Optimistic on Leading Greece out of Its Political Crisis

Article excerpt

The hope of forming a new coalition offers the first glimmer that Greek politicians might be able to extricate the country from a situation that has angered its foreign creditors and roiled global markets.

The leader of Greece's once-mighty Socialist party emerged optimistic Thursday after initial talks on forming a governing coalition with the head of a moderate leftist party, the first glimmer of hope that Greek politicians might be able to extricate the country from a deepening political crisis that has angered its foreign creditors and roiled global markets.

Evangelos Venizelos, the head of the Socialists, was the third party leader since fractured election results Sunday to try to form a government, after the two parties that fared better in the voting failed to reach a workable compromise with their rivals.

Speaking a few hours after receiving the presidential mandate to form a government, Mr. Venizelos emerged from talks with the leader of the Democratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis, clearly buoyed that the two had found common ground.

Mr. Venizelos noted that both leaders were in almost full accord on his proposal for a unity government aimed at helping Greece move beyond the EUR 130 billion, or $170 billion, debt deal it signed with creditors in February "within three years while remaining in the euro zone." The prospect that Greece might scuttle the deal has rattled financial markets and its European Union partners, raising the prospect that Greece would have to abandon the common currency.

"This is a good omen," Mr. Venizelos said.

He added that he would continue talks on Friday with Antonis Samaras, the leader of the conservative New Democracy party, which placed first, and with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, the runner-up in the voting.

Mr. Kouvelis, for his part, said he had proposed the creation of an "ecumenical government," suggesting that it would embrace Syriza as well as the conservatives. He also said he wanted the coalition to be composed of "trustworthy personalities," a nod to public anger with widespread political incompetence and corruption.

Ideally, the administration would remain in place until European parliamentary elections in 2014, and have as its key aim keeping Greece in the euro zone and abiding by the country's debt deal with creditors while "gradually disengaging" from it, Mr. Kouvelis said.

He added that he "sought nothing more than extricating Greeks from the crisis," a comment interpreted as a rejection of speculation that he would take the role of prime minister.

The men commenced their negotiations after the Syriza leader, Mr. Tsipras, returned his mandate Thursday, having failed in his own attempt to form a government.

"We exhausted every possibility and scope for creating a government compatible with the popular mandate," he told President Karolos Papoulias in televised comments, referring to voters' strong support for parties opposed to the terms of Greece's bailout. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.