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20 August 2017
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Greek party leaders divided over coalition gov't talks failure, bailout deals

Greek pro and against bailout party leaders were left divided Tuesday over the failure to forge an agreement for a coalition government to rule the debt-wrecked country, which opened the way for new national elections in June, according to Xinhua.

The latest opinion surveys show that a fragmented parliament divided between supporters and critics of bailout deals with international lenders will emerge as well after the new polls, fuelling anxiety over whether Greece will avoid prolonged political instability and implement a clear economic policy to tackle the risk of default and an exit from the eurozone.

At the end of the final round of consultations at the presidential mansion in Athens on Tuesday afternoon, it was officially announced that the efforts to form a national unity government to end the political deadlock after the May 6 general elections ended fruitless.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias will chair a new meeting of party chiefs Wednesday on the appointment of a caretaker administration to lead Greece to new elections.

If they fail to agree on an interim prime minister, in accordance with the constitution, the president will appoint the head of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court or Court of Audits to lead the country to the ballots expected by mid-June.

By Tuesday evening, all party leaders who had participated in the consultations were exchanging blame over the breakdown, calling on voters to support them in the second round of the electoral battle.

Antonis Samaras, head of the conservative New Democracy (ND) party that topped the May 6 elections with some 19 percent of votes, stressed in statements to the press that "a strong pro-European front will fight the leftist, populist forces."

Speaking from the headquarters of the socialist PASOK party that ranked third, its leader Evangelos Venizelos talked about "some parties that put party politics above the national interest."

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the radical left coalition SYRIZA that ranked second in the May 6 polls boosted by voters` anger at harsh austerity imposed under the bailout deals over the past two years, accused the two mainstream parties of promoting an economic pro-bailout policy that "would leave Greece hopeless."

He claimed that the review of the two bailout agreements signed with the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) creditors since May 2010, envisaged by ND and PASOK, is not bold enough to make a real change for the recession-hit suffering Greeks, pushing for annulments of certain terms.

The smaller Democratic Left party that had joined Tuesday`s talks, as a possible partner in a wide coalition, repeated its support for any coalition that would safeguard Greece`s eurozone membership and seek better lending conditions.

The nationalist Independent Greeks party and the Greek Communist Party in the meantime made harsh attacks against the bailout agreements.

As EU/IMF creditors have warned that they could stop the flow of vital bailout aid to Greece if Athens backtracked from previous pledges, the latest opinion polls suggested that SYRIZA would win the new elections, with no party securing again an absolute parliamentary majority, leading to a new round of talks to form a coalition government in June.

According to the survey printed on Eleftheros Typos (Free Press) daily, SYRIZA could garner some 20.5 percent of the votes up from 17 percent in the May 6 polls, and ND would follow with 19.4 percent.

The poll reaffirmed previous surveys showing that an overwhelming majority of Greek people (81.4 percent) want Greece to remain part of the European common currency zone.

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