With about 30 percent, New Democracy has emerged as the strongest party in Greece. Leader Antonis Samaras represents the old political elite of the country and is now tasked with forming a new government.
"There won't be any new adventures," said the head of the conservative New Democracy party, Antonio Samaras, after the elections. Greece had voted in favor of the pro-European course, he emphasized, calling on all parties who shared this goal to join forces in a new government.
He would in principle stick to the austerity program, but says he wants to talk with the European partners about how to stimulate growth and fight unemployment. In the recent past though, Samaras himself often seemed hesitant when it came to the austerity package: Last year he even opposed the drastic cuts that the EU demanded from Athens as a condition for financial aid. European politicians had to go to great lengths convincing him to agree to the Brussels plan.
After the resignation of Prime Minister Giorgis Papandreou, it was Loukas Papadimos who took over. Samaras and his New Democracy only lent rather limited support to the interim government and only on the condition that there be new elections soon. Although voters badly punished the political establishment in those elections in May, Samaras' conservatives still managed to come out strongest. Despite the mandate to form a government, Samaras gave up within hours after he failed to put together a working coalition.
Samaras is part of the old guard at New Democracy. He made headlines when he got fired as foreign minister 20 years ago over his hard stance in the quarrel with neighboring Macedonia over the right of the country to use that name because there is also a northern Greek province by that name. New Democracy has for decades been taking turns with the socialist Pasok party in governing the country. Both parties are viewed as the major culprits behind the current economic and social crisis in Greece.
Author: Daphne Grathwohl / ai
Editor: Gregg Benzow