Pro-bailout New Democracy wins Greece elections

Athens – Greek pro-bailout conservative New Democracy party (ND) won Sunday’s critical general election, beating the anti-bailout Radical Left Syriza party with 29.66% against 26.89%, according to the Interior Ministry’s final results released on Monday.

Falling below the needed threshold for an overwhelming parliamentary majority, ND still secured the 50-seat bonus granted to the first party under the Greek electoral law, as it won 129 seats in the 300-member strong parliament, said Speaker of Parliament Vyron Polydoras.

Meanwhile, Syriza obtained 71 seats and the Socialist PASOK party that ranked third with 12.28%, won 33 seats, followed by four more parties that enter the parliament with percentages below ten percent.

Amongst them is the moderate Democratic Left that could join a coalition government with ND and PASOK with its 17 seats.

Caretaker Prime Minister Panayotis Pikrammenos is due to visit President Karolos Papoulias on Monday noon to formally resign from the post, while ND’s party leader Antonis Samaras will later step in to receive the mandate to form a government.

Samaras would have three days to strike a deal under the Greek Constitution, otherwise the leader of the second largest party takes turn and the third would follow.

He had launched the coalition talks after the inconclusive 6 May national elections, but failed to form a government after tough negotiations, thus forcing Greek people to go to the polls for the second time in six weeks.

This time, party leaders are considered to be under more pressure to form a government to handle the debt crisis in order to avoid a disorderly Greek default and an exit from the European common currency zone.

The ND and its potential coalition partners, PASOK and Democratic Left, support the amendment of the most harsh austerity part of international bailout deals in collaboration with creditors to ease the burden from Greeks suffering from recession, without risking a bankruptcy and exit from Euro. -BuaNews-Xinhua