No headway in Greece coalition talks

The official talks to form a coalition government by Antonis Samaras, the leader of the New Democracy party, which narrowly won Greece`s election failed.

Updated: Jun 19, 2012, 00:51 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Athens: The official talks to form a coalition government by Antonis Samaras, the leader of the New Democracy party, which narrowly won Greece`s election ended in a dead-lock on Monday, according to reports.

Samaras began the urgent talks with the leaders of three main parties to form a coalition today by saying that he wishes to forge a "national consensus", the BBC reported.

However, Greece President Karolos Papoulias has called for another meeting on Tuesday to seek a solution.

On Monday, Samaras met Papoulias seeking a formal mandate to form government.

Papoulias said there was "a categorical imperative to form the government" immediately. "The country cannot remain ungoverned for even an hour."

The president gave Samaras three days for government formation according to the Constitution. The latter said he believed he could form a working coalition.

The voting was held on Sunday for the crucial elections in Greece with an expectation that they would determine the country`s future in the Eurozone, with the main contenders being the right-wing New Democracy and left-wing Syriza.

New Democracy won 129 of the 300 parliamentary seats in Sunday`s vote, opening the way for a coalition with the third-placed socialist party, Pasok, which has 33 seats, RIA Novosti reported.

According to BBC, with almost all ballots counted, New Democracy has 29.7 percent of the vote (129 seats), Syriza 26.9 percent (71) and Pasok 12.3 percent (33). There are 300 seats in parliament and Greece has a rule that gives the leading party 50 extra seats.

However after winning the elections, Samaras said he would seek changes in the terms of a bailout agreement reached with the Europian Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

After holding talks with the president, Samaras met Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza.

The second-place Syriza party has rejected the terms of the bailout and said it would form the opposition.

New Democracy and Pasok have pledged to implement an austerity programme in bailout deals worth over 200 billion euros, with the European Union and International Monetary Fund, to avert Greek bankruptcy.

The leftist Syriza party has refused to join a coalition and declared itself in firm opposition to the bailout deal.

Sunday`s polls were being watched across the world amid fears that a Greek exit from the euro could spread to other Eurozone members and send turmoil throughout the global economy, BBC reported.

The election, the second in six weeks, was called after the May 6 polls proved inconclusive.

Meanwhile, the main contenders in Sunday`s elections were at odds over whether broadly to stick with the tough EU bailout deal, or reject it and boost social spending.

Tough austerity measures were attached to the two international bailouts awarded to Greece, an initial package worth 110 billion euros ($138 billion) in 2010, then a follow-up last year worth 130 billion euros ($164 billion).

With agency inputs