Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Outlines of new Greek government take shape

Story highlights

  • Three of the four largest parties will hold more talks Wednesday
  • Pasok's leader says he thinks a government can be formed by the end of the day
  • The Greek political and economic crisis threatens to drag down the euro
  • The anti-austerity Syriza party came second in elections and will go into opposition

Greece appeared Tuesday to be heading toward having its first elected government in 222 days as the leaders of three political parties signaled that talks among them were going well.

Representatives of the three parties, New Democracy, Pasok and the Democratic Party of the Left, held talks at Parliament in Athens Tuesday evening, state broadcaster ERT reported.

They will meet again Wednesday afternoon, it said.

Evangelos Venizelos, head of Pasok, which placed third in Sunday's election, said he believes a government could be formed by Wednesday afternoon, based on the current situation.

In a televised address, he said he had proposed the formation of a national task force to renegotiate the terms of Greece's unpopular international bailout.

Europe off the cliff

    Just Watched

    Europe off the cliff

Europe off the cliff 04:13
Will Greece reach a coalition deal?

    Just Watched

    Will Greece reach a coalition deal?

Will Greece reach a coalition deal? 02:42
Will Greece remain in the eurozone?

    Just Watched

    Will Greece remain in the eurozone?

Will Greece remain in the eurozone? 03:20
Tourism down in Greece

    Just Watched

    Tourism down in Greece

Tourism down in Greece 04:09
The struggle to lead Greece

    Just Watched

    The struggle to lead Greece

The struggle to lead Greece 04:50
Greece looks to form a government

    Just Watched

    Greece looks to form a government

Greece looks to form a government 04:24

Greeks went to the polls Sunday as the country struggles to get out of the political and financial mire that threatens to drag down Europe's common currency and spark a new global financial crisis.

The center-right New Democracy party, which broadly favors Greece meeting international debt obligations, narrowly came in first place and has been holding talks on forming a coalition. It has three days from when the results were announced, on Monday afternoon, in which to form a government.

The head of New Democracy said Monday he wants a wide coalition.

"There should be government of national salvation with as many parties as possible," Antonis Samaras told reporters.

The leader of the Democratic Party of the Left, Fotis Kouvelis, held talks Tuesday with Venizelos and Monday with Samaras.

Samaras called the discussions with the fourth-place party "constructive." The leftist party has supported bailouts from international lenders while seeking to renegotiate the terms.

With almost all ballots counted, New Democracy had won nearly 30% of the vote, the Interior Ministry said, giving the party 129 seats in the country's 300-seat Parliament.

Alexis Tsipras, the fiery leader of the leftist Syriza party, which came in second, met with Samaras but said Monday he would not back a coalition.

"History and the people will judge them by their results," Tsipras said of the parties backing the existing bailout deal with the creditors who are keeping Greece afloat. "Shortly we will be vindicated."

What will Greek elections mean for the country's future?

He said his party's nearly 27% showing had forced Greek leaders to realize the bailout is "nonviable," and said Syriza would press as a member of the opposition for the bailouts to be scrapped.

Syriza, which campaigned against the terms of the bailout, got 71 seats.

Pasok, which long dominated Greek politics, won 33. Four smaller parties took fewer than two dozen seats each.

The vote was widely seen as a referendum on whether Greece should remain tied to the euro, the currency used by 325 million people across 17 countries in Europe. The possibility of a "no" vote roiled world markets, with some analysts warning that the collapse of the euro would cost $1 trillion.

Samaras said he would build a government of "parties that believe in the nation's European orientation, that believe in the euro."

But he acknowledged that government budget cuts forced on the country by international lenders have caused suffering among Greeks.

A wild election weekend for Greece, France and Egypt

The new government will have to make changes "in order for the Greek people to escape the torturous reality of unemployment and unbelievable difficulties that every Greek family faces today," Samaras said after meeting with the president.

International bailouts have kept Greece from defaulting in the face of an ongoing recession and low tax revenue, but lenders have demanded hugely unpopular government budget cuts in exchange.

Some observers had predicted that efforts to renegotiate the bailout could lead to a run on Greek banks and deeper misery.

The future of Europe: 3 scenarios

The country must identify additional budget cuts by the end of June to be considered compliant with the terms of its bailout.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe's powerful advocate for balancing budgets to build a strong basis for economic growth, had urged Greeks not to walk away from the international loan deals.

"We will stick to the agreements. That is the basis on which Europe will prosper," Merkel said Saturday.

As economic crisis bites, Greece's children pay the price

      Greece Election

    • Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras walks in parliament after a meeting with New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras.

      Questions are being raised in Greece around which party -- or parties -- will emerge as the country's dominant center-left force.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they walk through woodland at Camp David, Maryland, during the G8 Summit on May 19, 2012.

      Since Germany's emergence as an industrial economy, it has been too big to be one of many and too small to dominate, says Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff.
    • Greek football fans celebrate their win over Russia outside their parliament and on the eve of Sunday's key elections.

      Now that the Greek people have voted and a government formed, we need to think about where this crisis will go, says CNN's Richard Quest.
    • chance greece orphans_00000503

      Imagine abandoning your own children because you can't afford to feed and clothe them. It's a nightmare becoming reality in Greece.
    • The family of a woman killed in protests describe how her death sums up the country's plight as it prepared for the first election since the crisis.
    • Health workers shout slogans during a demonstration against the government's austerity measures in central Athens on February 23, 2012 as Greek parliament met to approve laws needed for a historic debt write down with private creditors, a key condition for a new eurozone bailout designed to avoid default.

      Greece has introduced harsh austerity measures to access funding from its international creditors. But can it save the country from bankruptcy?
    • A picture taken on September 14, 2011 in Paris shows Greek (C), German (L-R) and French (top-L) euro coins.

      Just one decade after the European single currency was launched amid fanfare and fireworks, its future is very much in doubt.