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Greek national unity government consultations to be continued Monday

05-14-2012 08:26 BJT

ATHENS, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Greek national unity government consultations amongst party leaders chaired by President Karolos Papoulias ended with no breakthrough on Sunday and will be continued Monday, an official statement issued by the Greek Presidency said.

The President will have fresh talks on Monday evening with the leaders of the three major parties in the new parliament that emerged after the May 6 general elections and the chief of the smaller Democratic Left party, according to the statement that was broadcast on Greek national television channel NET.

The Press statement was released at the end of the round of talks Papoulias held throughout Sunday with leaders of all seven parties that have entered the new assembly in a final bid to form a coalition administration to lead the debt-ridden country and avoid repeat elections in June.

The President's intervention, according to the Constitution, follows a series of deliberations New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) chief Alexis Tsipras and socialist PASOK party head Evangelos Venizelos held over the past week that had reached a dead-end.

But in a statement released shortly after the official announcement from the President's office, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said that he does not intend to attend Monday's dialogue, NET reported.

Still the participation of Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the Democratic Left party that ranked last, in the next round of consultations, according to local media commentators, keeps alive hopes that an agreement could eventually be reached on the formation of a national unity government.

"The interest of the country and society should come first of all," Kouvelis said in statements to the Press after the meeting with Papoulias.

He repeated the proposal he has made over the past few days on the formation of an administration with a limited term of two years that will keep the country within the euro zone and renegotiate bailout deals with international lenders.

Retaining a harder line compared to the other parties, SYRIZA has asked for a strong anti-austerity platform in the negotiations with European counterparts and International Monetary Fund creditors that support Greece with rescue loans since May 2010 to avoid a chaotic Greek bankruptcy in exchange of painful salary cuts and tax hikes.

Tsipras who has tripled his party's percentages in two years and won the second place in the may 6 elections, gaining from recession-hit voters' anger at the austerity introduced after the deals, claims that the other three party leaders do not go far enough.

His critics respond that a too harsh line towards creditors could backlash, resulting in bankruptcy and an exit from the European common currency zone.

Greek political analysts have noted that even without SYRIZA's participation, ND, PASOK and Democratic Left could form an administration with a wide parliamentary majority of 168 seats in the 300-member strong new legislature.

Samaras, Venizelos and Kouvelis have insisted since last week in SYRIZA's participation in the national unity government, since it is a basic political force in the new assembly that is due to convene on Thursday.

If the final round of consultations chaired by President Papoulias will fail, the Greek Constitution dictates the formation of a caretaker administration that will lead the country to fresh polls within a month.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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