Greece to Hold New Election on June 17

World | May 16, 2012, Wednesday // 15:19|  views

A Greek flag waves at Syntagma square in front of the Greek Parliament as pedestrians walk by, in Athens, Greece, 15 May 2012. Photo by BGNES

Greece will hold fresh elections on 17 June and a judge has been appointed to head an interim government.

Council of State president Panagiotis Pikramenos will head the caretaker government until the election.

The election date was announced after party leaders met Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday.

Final talks to form a coalition failed on Tuesday, raising new concerns over Greece's eurozone future. No party won a majority in the 6 May election.

Tuesday talks were attended by Adonis Samaras (center-right New Democracy), Evangelos Venizelos (socialist PASOK), Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA), Fotis Kouvelis (Democratic Left), and Panos Kamenos (Independent Greeks).

From the other two parties that made the cut, the KKE CommunistsCommunistsparty declined participation, while the far-right, nationalist Golden Dawn was not invited.

A majority of Greek voters backed anti-austerity parties in the elections earlier this month. As well as SYRIZA, these include the Democratic Left, the KKE (Communists) and the far-right Golden Dawn.

New Democracy and PASOK both agree to austerity measures in return for the last EU/IMF EUR 130 B bailout, but suffered at last weekend's general elections polls. SYRIZA, which came second, insists any new government must cancel the measures.

Recent opinion polls suggest SYRIZA's support has increased since May 6, and it could come first in any new election.

One poll commissioned by the Eleftheros Typos newspaper and published on Monday showed 20.5% of support for SYRIZA, compared to 19.4% for New Democracy and 11.8% for PASOK.

Leading European figures, including European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso, have warned that Greece must respect the terms of the bailout deal if it wants to remain in the Eurozone.

The uncertainty has alarmed Greece's international creditors, who insist the country must keep to the terms of the bailout deal if it is to continue receiving funds and avoid bankruptcy.

Greece's Central Bank and the Finance Ministry are working on an emergency plan to prevent bankruptcy if the bailout loans come to a halt.

Leading news agencies report that according to analysts, funds needed to pay wages, retirement pensions, welfare and others top EUR 4 B a month and the Greek State only has funding for them until the end of June.

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Tags: Democratic Left, greece, Alexis Tsipras, Syriza, New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos, financial crisis, instability, Karolos Papoulias, Eurozone, bailout, elections, coalition, talks, Central Bank, golden dawn, KKE (Communists), Democratic Left


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