Greek winners race to form government | News | DW | 18.06.2012
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Greek winners race to form government

Greece's victors are working to form a broad-support coalition by the end of the day. Many hope the quick formation of a government in the economically strapped country will alleviate uncertainty at home and abroad.

When the conservative New Democracy Party won the majority of parliamentary seats on Sunday, it eased fears of a Greek eurozone exit.

On Monday, just hours after their victory, the party set to work on forming a new government.

"There is a categorical imperative to form the government" today, President Karolos Papoulias said before giving a formal mandate to conservative leader Antonis Samaras to get started on negotiations.

"The country cannot remain ungoverned for even an hour," Papoulias said.

Leader of the New Democracy conservative party Antonis Samaras. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras

Samaras agreed and discussed the importance of quick action. "A national agreement is an imperative called for by everyone. We need to resolve the question immediately," he said.

He added, however, that amendments should be made to the conditions of the EU-IMF bailout deal so "the Greek people can escape from today's torturous reality."

Different parties and views

New Democracy secured 129 of the 300 parliamentary seats in Sunday's vote, leaving the third-placed party Pasok as an ideal coalition partner with its 33 seats.

Alexi Tsipras' anti-austerity leftist Syriza party came in second with 71 seats. Syriza has refused to enter coalition negotiations and believes the bailout deal should be scrapped altogether.

Escaping period of uncertainty

Onlookers sighed relief on Sunday with the hopes that the election would bring to an end this period of uncertainty and unsettled markets.

Europe and the United States urged Greece to act quickly to form a new government and proceed with urgent reforms in order to meet the terms of the bailout deal.

On Monday, the markets initially rallied and the euro rose against the dollar but those gains quickly petered out.

Whatever form the coalition in Greece takes, the new government will be facing the daunting prospect of grappling with unemployment, now at 22.6 percent, while easing frustration at home and fears in the global financial community.

The 130-billion euro ($163 billion) deal is the second for Greece, which also had a 110-billion euro bailout in 2010. Greece was also given a 107-billion euro private debt write-off.

tm/slk (AFP, Reuters)