The head of Pasok has been handed the mandate to hammer out an agreement to form a coalition government from itself with 13.4 % of the vote, New Democracy with 19 % of the vote and the social democratic party with 6 % of the vote. Together the three parties would have a narrow majority of the seats because New Democracy finished first and has an additional 50 seats on top of its proportionally obtained 58. This coalition would still be shaky because there are probably a number of parliamentary members in all three parties that would be nervous to be identified as politicians who sustained extreme austerity even when the majority of the electorate had rejected it. The Germans and the ECB and the Brussels technocrats would strongly support it but that might discredit it in the eyes of many citizens, unless they obtained some concessions to soften the pace and impact of austerity, something which so far Chancellor Merkel has adamantly refused to agree to.
There is a promising statement by an influential advisor to the German government on the need for greater flexibility in the demands made upon countries like Greece facing debt repayment crises. This has been reported in the Athens English language press. See this excerpt below.
On the other hand, some polls taken since the election show that the austerity rejectionist party Syriza, the Coalition of the Left ,would gain aditional votes and seats and would finish first in a second round election potentially ending up with 128 seats in the new Parliament. Both Pasok led by Evangelos Veizelos and New Democracy led by Antonis Samaras would lose further votes and seats. So there is a big incentive for these two parties to strike a deal with the sixth party, Dimar. We shall see if the deal occurs and how the parties will present it to the Greek public, if in fact a deal is struck. It may work in the short term but I wonder how long it would take for it to unravel if unrelenting austerity is continued.
The poll conducted by Marc and reported in the Athens Press was conducted two days after the election and has the following result. Syriza 27.7 % 128 seats; New Democracy 20.3 % 57 seats; Pasok 12.6% 36 seats; Independent Greeks 10.2 % 29 seats; KKE 7 % 20 seats; Golden Dawn 5.7 % 16 seats; Democratic Left 4.9 % 14 seats.
The latest news on Friday late afternoon suggests that the small social democratic party Dimar is refusing to enter a coalition without the participation of Syriza who was elected on the basis of its opposition to austerity. A new election is looking more likely unless all four of these parties, Pasok, New Democracy, Dimar and Syriza compromise somewhat. There is another alternative but it would require some compromise on the part of the European leadership.(See Peter Bofinger’s statement above) This would involve some softening and some temporary suspension of the draconian austerity being imposed foolishly on Greece. With a better set of rules and more time both political and economic recovery would become possible.There are probably at least five political parties in Greece who would seek to participate in a government that had been offered these better terms. As of Friday evening the talks had reached an impasse which the President will seek to overcome tomorrow.