Photo: To Vima
A few minutes after the announcement of the shocking preliminary results of Greek elections, GRReporter sought one of the leading political journalists in Greece Fanis Papathanassiou to comment on the developments.
How would you comment on the election results?
Until yesterday, PASOK and New Democracy were taking turns in governing the country. In 2009, two and a half years ago, the two parties together won 77% of the vote. Now, it will be very difficult for them to collect a total of between 35-40%. There is a great upsurge of the left. All left parties won around 35% in total and of course, the question now is what the composition of the coalition government will be. According to initial estimates, PASOK and New Democracy have no other choice but to try to form a coalition government with the participation of pro-European forces. And this will be the moment of truth for the position of SYRIZA after Alexis Tsipras himself requested a government of left forces. But the composition of this cabinet will also depend on whether the smaller parties such as LAOS and the Democratic Alliance will be able to enter parliament as well as on the position of the Democratic Left. They just have no choice but to form a cabinet, although it can only last a few months because the programme is ongoing and the measures to be taken are severe.
Before the elections, Alexis Tsipras said he seeks to obtain the mandate to form the government. Obviously, he is not willing to participate in a joint government with PASOK and New Democracy. What can we expect?
As I said, we have to see the percentage rates of smaller parties. The New Democracy leader will receive the mandate first. If his attempt succeeds, we can have a coalition government within 4-5 days. If this does not happen, we will have to see the position of Alexis Tsipras if he receives the mandate as the second parliamentary force.
Do you think there is a danger of political instability in the country?
No, I do not think so. Greece still has a government. Lucas Papademos office has not resigned and it will not do so before a new government is formed. I.e. there is no political gap and I do not see one coming. The question is what kind of government we will have. Will it be a government composed of technocrats, which will be supported by PASOK and New Democracy and possibly some other forces, that will involve individuals outside the parliament? Or will it be a coalition government, which will involve politicians from PASOK, New Democracy and other smaller parties.
How would you comment on the statement by the German Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble that if the Greek voters choose anti-European forces they must be ready to suffer the consequences of their choice?
I did not expect anything different. He expressed what everybody wants: to form a government. Still in their first statements, PASOK and New Democracy said they want to achieve this goal. They do not want new elections, which would delay the course of things for another month. They have set as their main goal the formation of a coalition government involving pro-European political forces.