Photo: To Vima
The chief advisеrs of New Democracy, PASOK and the Democratic Left met at 6 pm on Tuesday to clarify the final details of the composition of the new Greek government. Chrisantos Lazaridis, Vangelis Meimarakis and Kostas Skandalidis are negotiating the conditions under which the three parliamentary parties can unite in a joint cabinet. According to recent information, the newly formed government aims at a longer life (to 2014) than a six-month mandate, supposed by some political analysts.
A meeting of leaders of political parties in parliament under the leadership of President Carlos Papoulias is expected to take place not later than Wednesday. The composition of the government will be announced after it and later, the new government will take an oath. New Democracy spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis told Real FM Radio, that the outcome of the talks is close and politicians will soon be able to announce the new composition. If New Democracy fails to form a coalition government, the President must give the mandate of the second largest party in parliament, which is SYRIZA at present. Political analysts in Greece are adamant that this will not happen and Antonis Samaras will be able to form a cabinet.
According to information on Twitter, Samaras, Venizelos and Kouvelis will meet at 8:30 pm to hold the last talks before finally determining the composition of the cabinet. For now, it is just a rumour on social media not confirmed by official sources.
The meeting of the advisers of the three main parties was significantly delayed due to PASOK’s fault. Old socialists failed again to agree on what the party line must be in the new government scheme. Some argue that PASOK should not involve in the government politically active individuals but only technocrats supporting the party. Others argue that PASOK should not have anything to do with the new government – it should only give a vote of confidence to the government of New Democracy and the Democratic Left. Still others (like former Health Minister Andreas Loverdos) urge the socialist party to be actively involved in the government with pronounced political persons. The hot discussion continued for a long time and Skandalidis left the PASOK headquarters and set off to the meeting of party advisers at 7:15 pm - that meeting, which was originally scheduled for 6 pm. It appears that the opinion that PASOK should participate in the new cabinet with technocrats prevailed in the core of the socialists.
"PASOK will sincerely support the government," said Evangelos Venizelos in a national address. According to him, the most important thing is the group that will undertake the negotiations with the Greek lenders rather than the composition of the government. "In this battle, PASOK and I personally will give all our strength, use the entire international experience and knowledge we have to reach the best conditions for the return of economic growth." Venizelos is clear that if negotiations with creditors fail, the Greek nation will be put in jeopardy.
It seems that Antonis Samaras will not allow anyone else to take the power and according to Mega TV, he will take the premiership. Both PASOK and the Democratic Left have agreed on this decision. According to the same source, the president of the national assembly will be Dimitris Avramopoulos, who was military minister in the caretaker government of Lucas Papademos. The names for the posts in key ministries such as those of economy and finance are not yet known, but a rumour was spread on Monday that New Democracy is considering making the former president of the National Bank of Greece Takis Arapoglou finance minister. PASOK suggests that the present caretaker Minister of Development and Competitiveness Yiannis Stournaras should remain in this post.
Even at the outset of the election campaign, Antonis Samaras promised that the government of New Democracy will be compact and efficient. Greek media reported that Samaras is preparing a cabinet of 15 ministers and 22 deputy ministers. Yiannis Mihelakis will most probably take the Public Relations post in the government, as he was recently New Democracy’s spokesman. Kyriakos Mitsotakis candidacy for the Ministry of Energy and Environment is considered certain, according to information on the Greek Sky TV as well as that of Olga Kefalogianni for the Ministry of Tourism. Kostis Hatzidakis is again expected to enter the government scheme. In the Karamanlis government, he was Minister of Transport, and then Minister of Development.
After long hours of negotiations and consultations, the Democratic Left stated it will give a vote of confidence to Samaras’ cabinet but will not involve its members or deputies in the government. The situation in PASOK proved much more serious since the decision about the role of socialists in a government of New Democracy caused serious turmoil. PASOK members failed to reach consensus by the late hours of Tuesday evening. Party leader Evangelos Venizelos met with 33 of the most vocal party members but it turned out that everyone had different opinions on what and how PASOK should contribute to the formation of a cabinet. In the end, Venizelos announced that the final decision will be taken at a meeting of the socialist parliamentary group that will take place at 10 am on Wednesday. It will be held behind closed doors and then, the composition of the new coalition government will be clear.