Party leaders agree on a second poll

A coalition government was never seriously considered; new parliament will only last 2-3 days

Party leaders agree on a second poll

A caretaker government led by a judge and with non-politicians at the crucial posts will be sworn in Thursday.

The leaders of the five parties represented in the Parliament agreed on Wednesday that no coalition cabinet was possible: In fact, none of the top three party leaders who was given a mandate to try and form a government by President Katerina Sakellaropoulou made even a cursory effort; it was understood that a second election, conducted under a different law that will favor the winner with extra seats, is inevitable.

Sakellaropoulou was obligated by the Constitution to call the five parliamentary leaders – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of conservative New Democracy; Alexis Tsipras, of left-wing main opposition SYRIZA; Nikos Androulakis, of socialist PASOK-Movement for Change; Dimitris Koutsoumbas of the Communist Party; and Kyriakos Velopoulos of right-wing-nationalist Greek Solution – to ask them if they could form an all-party, or “ecumenical” government. Instead, talk focused on the composition of the caretaker government. 

Court of Audit President Ioannis Sarmas was summoned by Sakellaropoulou and asked to form a government; according to the Constitution, only the heads of the Supreme Court, the Council of State and the Court of Auditors can head a caretaker government.

Kathimerini understands that retired diplomat Vassilis Kaskarelis, a former ambassador to Washington, will be sworn in as foreign minister, while three retired senior officers will head the ministries of Defense, Citizens’ Protection and Climate Change and Civil Protection.

The newly elected parliament will meet Sunday, elect its speaker Monday and be dissolved either Monday or Tuesday.

Having just achieved a resounding win, with a 20 percent margin over his closest opponent, Mitsotakis will focus on keeping his voters, certain of New Democracy’s victory, from staying at home.

Another concern is the potential presence in the next parliament of two parties that just missed the 3% threshold; the nominally left-wing but actually catch-all Freedom Sailing and the clericalist, nationalist and conspiracy-theory-friendly Niki (Victory). More parties in Parliament could make a single-party majority too small for comfort or even threaten it. 

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