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Tsipras lays out five points of coalition talks

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the runner-up in the May 6 general elections Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), presented the five points along which his discussions with minority party leaders will develop as he tries to form a coalition government after frontrunner New Democracy failed at the task on Monday.

Following a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias, who delivered the mandate to Tsipras, the 38-year-old politician said that «this is a historic moment for the left and a great challenge for me."

Addressing the press from Parliament later and before embarking on a string of meetings with party and union leaders, Tsipras rejected the efforts of New Democracy and third-placed PASOK for a so-called «national salvation government,» saying that a coalition of conservative and centrist forces would be a government «for the salvation of the memorandum» and would violate the mandate of the people, who have, «rejected the bailout agreement with their vote."

Tsipras challenged the two parties, who have ruled Greece for the past three decades but suffered a crushing defeat at the May 6 polls, to rescind their letters of guarantee to creditors saying that Greece would abide in full to the terms of the bailout deal, «if they truly regret what they have done to the Greek people."

On his upcoming talks to explore whether he will be able to form a majority coalition with parties of the left and parties representing environmental concerns, the head of SYRIZA -- which gleaned 16.78 percent at the ballot box and won 52 seats in the 300-seat Parliament -- laid out the five points that will be the focus of discussions:

* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that will impoverish Greeks further, such as cuts to pensions and salaries.

* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that undermine fundamental workers' rights, such as the abolition of collective labor agreements.

* The immediate abolition of a law granting MPs immunity from prosecution, reform of the electoral law and a general overhaul of the political system.

* An investigation into Greek banks, and the immediate publication of the audit performed on the Greek banking sector by BlackRock.

* The setting up of an international auditing committee to investigate the causes of Greece's public deficit, with a moratorium on all debt servicing until the findings of the audit are published.

"We are not indifferent to whether the country will be governed or not, but we are primarily concerned with the direction in which the country will be governed and whether the people's mandate will be respected,» Tsipras said.

The SYRIZA leader is expected to meet first with Fotis Kouvelis from Democratic Left (which received 6.1 percent of the vote and 19 seats) and then with Ecologist Greens (2.93 percent; no seats) representative Ioanna Kontouli and Social Pact (0.96 percent; no seats) president Louka Katseli. Earlier he spoke on the telephone with Greek Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga who rejected a face-to-face meeting.

Tsipras has indicated that he will use the full three days at his disposal to talk with all the party leaders, including those of New Democracy and PASOK, but barring Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn).

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday May 8, 2012 (16:11)  
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