Greek party fails to form government
Anti-austerity leftists look for new opportunities
The nation of Greece is in a precarious situation. In the grasp of its
fifth year of recession, Greece needs bailout funds to stay solvent.
However -- Greek conservatives have failed to form a government, leaving
a window of opportunity for anti-austerity leftists. Germany and EU
warn that Greece must stick to its bailout deal.
Conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras admits that his efforts to form a 'national salvation' administration had failed. The runner-up, radical leftist party Syriza will now be tasked with forming a government.
"I did whatever I could to secure a result but it was impossible," Samaras said in a televised address. "I informed [head of state President Carolos Papoulias] and returned the mandate," the 60-year-old leader said.
The nationalist Independent Greeks and the Communist party refused to even meet with him. Third-place socialist PASOK, formerly in a coalition with New Democracy, agreed to cooperate but only if the leftists also joined.
The parties' disdainful snub of Samaras indicates they are paying more attention to the punishing message sent over the weekend by voters fed up with austerity measures.
Another election, taking place as soon as next month, looms for a country that is reliant on international support to avoid bankruptcy.
Sunday's vote saw parties backing the stiff international rescue package lose their majority in parliament, raising the chances of a possible Greek exit from the common euro currency.
Official results showed conservative New Democracy came first with 18.8 per cent and 108 of Parliament's 300 seats.
"I understand the rage of the people, but our party will not leave Greece ungoverned," Samaras says.
And if the deadlock does not ease, Greece faces new elections under a caretaker government in mid-June, about the time it has to reveal drastic austerity measures worth $19bn for 2013 to 2014.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was "of utmost importance" that Greece stick to the reform course agreed in exchange for an EU bailout, despite the voter backlash.
"It is of course of utmost importance that the programs in Greece continue," she said in Berlin.
Greek voters on Sunday delivered a resounding anti-austerity election verdict, punishing the ruling coalition and leaving the country's political future and the eurozone's stability hanging in the balance.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Greece, austerity, radical leftists, anti-austerity
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