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Greece: Syriza Passes Hand; PASOK to Attempt Formation of Government

Translated Friday 11 May 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Alixis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, remitted President Carolos Papoulias’ mandate to form a government on May 10. Papoulias has asked Evangelos Venizelos, of PASOK, the Greek Socialist Party, to attempt to form a governing majority from the deputies elected in the May 6 legislative elections.

Alexis Tsipras, whose anti-austerity left-wing coalition came in second in the elections, explains his inability to form a government as due to the fact that “our proposal won broad backing in society, but not in Parliament. We shall not be able to realize our dream of forming a left-wing government.” Neither PASOK, still less the right-wing New Democracy party, wish to distance themselves from the austerity policy imposed by the European Union and enacted by the Papandreou government and by the coalition government that succeeded it.

New legislative elections in five weeks?

“I shall continue in this effort because it’s in our country’s interest. Prolonging this uncertainty only harms our country and its economy, and in the final analyses, the unemployed and the weakest people in society,” Evangelos Venizelos explained upon accepting the mission of attempting to form a governing majority in Greece. If the leader of the social-democratic party, which all but sank on May 6, also throws in the towel, as is quite likely, Greece will have no other choice but to hold new legislative elections.

Germany is putting pressure on Greece.

Germany solemnly warned Greece on May 9, through foreign affairs minister Guido Westerwelle, that the country will not receive another allotment of financial aid if it abandons austerity. If Greece were not to receive any more of the 130 billion euros in aid provided for by the European Union-IMF plan, it would not be able to pay its debt and would soon go bankrupt.

A 5.2-billion-euro installment.

In Brussels, the countries of the euro zone announced they were paying a 5.2-billion-euro installment to Athens, despite the reticence of some governments in making the payment in view of the election results.

The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) pointed out that an initial sum of 4.2 billion euros will be paid on May 11. The remaining billion euros is to be paid later, “depending on Greece’s financing requirements.”

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