In the last days before the final, pre-election campaign, the fight in Greece is at its climax. While parties are seeking to gain the confidence of those who have not yet decided for whom they will vote, fears that none of these parties will be able to secure a parliamentary majority and form a separate cabinet are intensifying.
Such a thing has not happened in the Mediterranean country for at least 50 years now. Given that Greece has anyway delayed the implementation of the vital reforms to revive the economy, it is interesting to see what would happen if there were no winner on Sunday night.
According to the Greek Constitution, Greece must have a new government no later than eleven days after the elections on Sunday.
If any of the 32 parties involved manages to secure a parliamentary majority of 151 seats, its leader will receive on Monday a mandate by President Carlos Papoulias to form a government. But if the expectations come true and no party wins this right, the Constitution provides for yet another mandate to the three leading parties having the highest number of votes and each of these mandates will last for three days.
According to Article 37 of the Constitution of Greece, the leader of the party, which collected the full majority of seats, is appointed Prime Minister. If no party won a majority, the President will give the mandate to the leader of the party that won a relative majority in order to explore the possibility of forming a government supported by Parliament.
If this attempt fails, the President will give a mandate to the leader of the second party in terms of votes collected. If it fails, the President will give the mandate to the leader of the third political force. Each mandate will be valid for three days.
In case of a failure in all three attempts to form a cabinet, the President will convene a meeting with the participation of party leaders. If he finds that there is no possibility of forming a cabinet supported by Parliament, he will seek to form a cabinet involving all parliamentary forces in order to hold new elections. If this attempt fails, the President will assign to the chairman of one of the three supreme courts the task of forming a cabinet with the greatest possible participation of the parties in order to hold elections and then, he will dismiss the Parliament.
In the event that any party that received the mandate to form a government has no leader or representative or if he was not elected a deputy, the mandate will be given to the person suggested by the parliamentary group of the party. The proposal for mandating will be made within three days from the day when the head of Parliament or his deputy announces the ratio of the parliamentary forces to the President. This notice will be made before each mandate.
If during the procedure giving the mandate some parties have an equal number of deputies, the mandate will be given to the one that has received more votes in the elections. According to the regulations of the Parliament, an old party has an advantage over a newly established one in the event that the parties have an equal number of deputies. In both cases, not more than four parties receive a mandate to form a government.
Regardless of the possibility of forming a cabinet, the new Greek Parliament will have to convene a meeting on 17 May as stipulated in the Presidential Decree issued by Carlos Papoulias on 11 April this year.
If the statements of the New Democracy leader that he will not share the power with anyone else are serious, the scenarios described above are quite likely to happen. It is not at all clear whether Greece can afford the luxury of not having a government for a long time and how the extreme forces could "take advantage" of this time.