(AP) Greece has government, Socialist head says
Greece has a government, the head of the country’s socialist party said Wednesday, ending nearly seven weeks of political uncertainty which threatened to plunge Europe deeper into a financial crisis with global repercussions.
Evangelos Venizelos, a former finance minister and head of the socialist PASOK party, said details of the three-party coalition government were still being worked out and were expected to be finalized by the end of the day.
Discussions were still ongoing on the new government’s policy platform and on who the ministers would be.
The development is expected to calm fears that a protracted political crisis in debt-struck Greece could have led to the country being forced out of the joint European currency. Such an event could have dragged down other financially troubled Eurozone nations and hammered the global economy.
PASOK came third in Sunday’s election, which was won by the conservative New Democracy party. No party won enough votes to form a government on its own, leading to three days of coalition talks.
The runner-up in Sunday’s ballot, the anti-bailout radical left Syriza party, has refused to join any government that will implement the terms of Greece’s international bailout loans.
The coalition that will be formed will be between New Democracy, PASOK and the small Radical Left party of Fotis Kouvelis.
Greece will be represented at the upcoming meeting of Eurozone finance ministers by outgoing Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias, Venizelos said.
The meeting “will be the first big battle on the revision of the bailout agreement the creation of a framework that will allow us to move to positive growth and to combat unemployment which is the big problem of Greek society,” Venizelos said.
Although both Venizelos and New Democracy head Antonis Samaras broadly support the country’s bailout loans from other European Union countries and the International Monetary Fund, they have pledged to try renegotiating some of the harsh austerity terms taken in return.