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Syriza’s Tsipras to meet Greece’s pro-bailout parties

Published: May 9, 2012 | 8:05 am
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The leader of Greece’s left-wing Syriza bloc is continuing attempts to form a government after elections on Sunday produced an inconclusive result.

Alexis Tsipras has said he will try to form a coalition based on tearing up the terms of the EU/IMF bailout deal, which he describes as “barbaric”.

On Wednesday, he will meet the two mainstream pro-bailout parties, Pasok and New Democracy (ND).

If the two sides fail to agree, Greece could face fresh elections in weeks.

Power vacuum?

Mr Tsipras wants a government that turns its back on cost-cutting and Greece’s bailout commitments.

He secured agreement from one centre-left party on Tuesday.

But the party leaders who signed the bailout deal are unlikely to agree to his terms, says the BBC’s Mark Lowen, in Athens.

If no deal is reached, a perilous power vacuum would be created, our correspondent says.

Greece would be unable to draw its international loan, meaning it would again face the prospect of bankruptcy and possible exit from the euro, he adds.

The European Commission and Germany say countries must stick to budget cuts.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday: “What member states have to do is be consistent, implementing the policies that they have agreed.”

The financial chaos has sparked huge social unrest in Greece and led to a deep mistrust of the parties considered to be the architects of austerity.

New Democracy’s share of the vote fell from 33.5% in 2009 to less than 19%, while Pasok plummeted from 43% to just over 13%.

In March, both parties backed the terms of the second EU/IMF deal agreed by technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

In return for its two bailouts – worth a total of 240bn euros (£190bn; $310) – Greece agreed to make deep cuts to pensions and pay, raise taxes and slash thousands of public sector jobs.

Mr Tsipras made his position clear to reporters in a five-point plan:

Cancelling the bailout terms, notably laws that further cut wages and pensions
Scrapping laws that abolish workers’ rights, particularly a law abolishing collective labour agreements due to come into effect on 15 May
Promoting changes to deepen democracy and social justice
Investigating Greece’s banking system which received almost 200bn euros of public money
Setting up an international committee to find out the causes of Greece’s public deficit and putting on hold all debt servicing
Greek media said Mr Tsipras had enlisted the support of a smaller left-wing party, Democratic Left, but failed to persuade the communist KKE to back him. He is likely to talk to all the party leaders, except the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn.

Greek election results graphic


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