NEWS

Political opposition divided over unity government

Of the remaining three parties in Greece?s Parliament, two -- the Communist Party and the radical leftist SYRIZA -- refused the president?s invitation to join talks on a new unity government.

Communist Party (KKE) leader Alexis Papariga on Monday called the coalition between the outgoing Socialists and conservative New Democracy a ?dark front? and called on the Greek people to ?overthrow the new government and impose new elections.?

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras struck a similar tone, declaring that ?the parties whose governments bankrupted the country are now uniting their failures to save us,? he said.

The leader of the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally, (Laos), Giorgos Karatzaferis, visited the president for talks about his party?s possible participation in a unity government early Monday afternoon.

After the talks, Karatzaferis said his party was willing to join the administration on three conditions: that there would be no further cuts to Greek salaries and pensions, that there would be no compromising of Greece?s national sovereignty and no ?looting? of state assets, a reference that apparently refers to an ambitious privatization plan the outgoing government pledged its foreign creditors.

The new government received a mixed response from parties outside Parliament. Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of the Democratic Left, appeared reluctant to support it, noting that it consisted of two parties and was therefore ?not a unity government.?

Dora Bakoyannis, the head of the center-right Democratic Alliance, was more positive, welcoming the development as ?extremely positive.?

Outside Greece, some viewed the prospects for opposition consensus as more straightforward. Austria?s Finance Minister Maria Fekter reportedly said that Greece?s opposition parties should agree -- in writing -- to support austerity measures that the outgoing Socialist government already has committed to.

?Political assurance that Greece will adhere to its fiscal reform agreement is a prerequisite for the country receiving its next tranche of aid,? Fekter said.

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