Talks for the formation of the new Greek cabinet have begun. At 12:30, President Carlos Papoulias met with New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and handed him the mandate to form a government.
An hour earlier, the President received the former chairman of the parliament Viron Polidoras, who informed him about the final election results and the number of lawmakers from each party in the new parliament. After him, caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikramenos was at the presidency to return the mandate he received over a month ago.
In a conversation with media representatives, Antonis Samaras stressed the need for national consensus and determination in terms of social cohesion, "which threatens families not only financially but also in terms of security." New Democracy leader expressed his hope that his efforts could succeed.
In response, Carlos Papoulias wished him success and stressed that the country could no longer be without a government. The New Democracy leader added that the government he will form will be a government of national salvation involving as many parties as possible and will be a "long term" one.
Then, Antonis Samaras headed to parliament, where he met with SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras at 2 pm, and at 6 pm he will talk with the leader of PASOK Evangelos Venizelos on the possibilities of forming a coalition government.
After the meeting, Alexis Tsipras said that his party was "against the use of the term for communicative purposes" and that he supports the formation of a cabinet with New Democracy in the centre, as he "completely respects the people's will." He noted that the period until 28 June, when the European summit will take place, is very important and said that SYRIZA will not hamper but will support any government actions relieving the austerity measures stated in the memorandum. SYRIZA's leader rejected every opportunity to participate in the cabinet and even said that if his party received a mandate to form a government, it would not accept it.
After his meeting with Antonis Samaras in the late afternoon, PASOK's leader Evangelos Venizelos stressed the need for the immediate formation of a government "by tomorrow night." He explained that he remains behind his suggestion that the president should omit the procedure of giving a mandate to the three parties that won the highest number of votes and finalize tomorrow’s negotiations with a meeting of the leaders of New Democracy, PASOK, the Democratic Left and SYRIZA.
Evangelos Venizelos accused Alexis Tsipras of wanting to hide behind the role of opposition. "On Sunday, the Greek people told us to cooperate, but apparently some do not want to hear this message," he said.
Behind the formal framework, the talks for the formation of the new cabinet are running at full speed. According to sources, PASOK's leader played the role of a "bridge" between the leaders of New Democracy and the Democratic Left throughout the day.
"Who will be prime minister and who will be cabinet members is of secondary importance. It is urgent now to form a cabinet and send a message of stability to Europe," Evangelos Venizelos said.
At the same time, it became clear that at a meeting in the New Democracy headquarters, Antonis Samaras said that the government team would not involve old party representatives who were ministers in previous party governments. He intends to give ministerial seats to the young generation as his aim is for the government to survive at least until the next election to appoint the members of European Parliament in 2014 and then, to the end of a normal term of four years.
After the meeting of Antonis Samaras with Panos Kamenos it became clear that the Independent Greeks would not participate in the planned government. He said there were two reasons for this, "First, we suggested a personality uniting all parties to be elected prime minister, but Mr. Samaras said he wanted to take this post. Second, we declared our desire to cancel the memorandum and Mr. Samaras said he just wanted to renegotiate its terms."
In a new statement, Golden Dawn's leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, who is persona non grata in the procedures for the formation of the cabinet, said the deputies of his party would vote against any reduction in wages and pensions. However, he wished success in the attempts to form a cabinet "for the good of Greece." Moreover, Nikolaos Mihaloliakos called Antonis Samaras to fulfill his election promises to fight crime and take measures against illegal immigration. "The votes of the members of New Democracy, Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn give him enough parliamentary majority to pass bills in this regard. If he does not do it, it would mean that he was just playing pre-election firecrackers."
Antonis Samaras’ last meeting of the day was with the leader of the Democratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis. The formation of the anticipated triple coalition proved not such an easy task, as demonstrated by his remarks after the meeting.
He said his party could not give a "blank cheque" to anyone, although he also stressed the need for forming a government. Therefore, in his opinion, it all depends on whether New Democracy and PASOK will accept his party’s plan for government. "Everything depends on the text of the programme contract," said Fotis Kouvelis, adding that it is necessary to agree on the persons who will take ministerial seats.
In his final statement, Antonis Samaras just said, "We had a very productive meeting with Mr. Kouvelis. It will continue tomorrow."