The two-hour talks between five of the seven leaders of major political forces have not yielded results and new elections will be held in Greece. President Carlos Papoulias is expected to form a caretaker government on Wednesday, which will undertake to hold the second elections. The exact election date is expected to be announced tomorrow, but according to unofficial sources, it will be 17 June this year.
On Tuesday, Antonis Samaras from New Democracy, Alexis Tsipras from SYRIZA, Evangelos Venizelos from PASOK, Fotis Kouvelis from the Democratic Left and Panos Kamenos from the Independent Greeks met at the invitation of the President of the Republic in order to find a way to form a coalition government. After the talks that lasted nearly two hours, the politicians left empty-handed without being able to reach an agreement. "The servants of the Memorandum continue to harass the people to serve creditors," said Panos Kamenos upon leaving the presidential palace. He was the only one to make a statement to the media crowded around the entrance. They had come from around the world to trace the development of the next chapter of the Greek drama.
"Today Sarkozy is handing over the presidency to Hollande in France but Greece is the top news," said for GRReporter a French reporter, who was waiting for the outcome of the talks together with the other journalists. She explained that French economists have estimated that the potential exit of Greece from the euro area would cost the French Republic about 50 billion euro. "As you can see, it is not much money and it depends only on the Greek people if they want to leave the euro area," she explained. Just the opposite was the opinion of a German photographer who believed that the country would not leave the euro area. "It would be wise if they had agreed to form a coalition government. Whatever happens I do not think that Greek politicians will allow Greece to leave the euro area. Germany does not want it either," said the German. He believes that Greece could manage if all the Greeks mobilized their efforts. He is concerned that in the second round of elections, extreme left and extreme right forces would gain more power and would threaten the recovery of the state. A representative of a Dutch radio station said that the decision of holding new elections was a wrong move. She also believes that Greeks tend to vote for extremist parties due to bitterness but these parties will not be able to lead the country out of the crisis.
Shortly after leaving the presidential palace, Evangelos Venizelos gave a statement from the headquarters of PASOK. He said that there will be new elections in the country because of some political forces’ irresponsibility. "We tried to convince SYRIZA and the Democratic Left to form a coalition government, but we failed," said Venizelos accusingly. He stressed that the elections held on 06 May 2012 have assigned an insignificant role for PASOK in governing the state. "We proposed to SYRIZA to form a leftist government with the party of Fotis Kouvelis and with the support of PASOK just to see in practice what it means to govern a state but this proposal was also rejected." He insisted that brinkmanship and arrogance have prevailed and so, Greece is to hold new elections.
Fotis Kouvelis, in turn, accused PASOK and New Democracy of putting their party interests over national ones. He also insisted on forming a coalition government that would gradually withdraw the country from the Memorandum of financial assistance. He is not ready to participate in a government not involving SYRIZA. "With the 6.11% we had won, the Democratic Left did everything it could in these talks in order to prevent new elections, but some political parties had already decided that there will be elections," Kouvelis said. He explained that forming a government of personalities or technocrats was not proposed at today’s meeting. The Democratic Left leader said that he had stipulated that if a coalition government was formed, it should immediately initiate the withdrawal of Greece from the bailout agreement - a condition with which PASOK and New Democracy disagreed. "I did what I could to escape new elections. Let the citizens themselves make their conclusions because they are the ones who have to choose."
"The present and future of Greece is threatened," responded Antonis Samaras from New Democracy to the left wing’s attacks. "We have stated from the outset that the main purpose is to protect the two most important priorities in the modern history of Greece – that the country will remain in the European Union and the euro area and the change in the terms of the Memorandum, which is taking the country into recession, destroying the real economy and sweeping away people’s hopes." He said that he had warned before the elections that Greece was threatened by the lack of control and now, the country has entered a dangerous stage. "Against us are all those, who do not want Greece to change and are based on outdated ideologies," said the right politician. He stressed that Greece is able to utilize its natural resources within the euro rather than outside it, if it shakes off the burdens that have been taking the country decades backs - bureaucracy, corruption, impunity and conformism. "We are fighting for Greece, which wants to change in Europe that is already changing." He urged all Greeks, no matter for whom they had voted until yesterday, to vote for New Democracy in order to keep Greece in the euro area and head along the road to recovery.