NEWS

Greek parties react to crisis coalition deal

Politicians across Greece’s left-right spectrum have cautiously welcomed a historical power-sharing agreement between Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the main opposition party.

Senior PASOK official Christos Protopappas on Monday hailed the agreement reached late on Sunday at the Presidential Palace, saying it would facilitate negotiations on the new bailout deal and the budget, before the country can hold a general election next year.

PASOK and New Democracy have reportedly agreed that the most suitable date for the elections would be February 19 next year.

Giorgos Koumoutsakos, a New Democracy MEP, on Monday acknolwedged that Greece ?had reached the edge of the abyss,? adding that all sides now had an obligation to steer the nation out of the danger zone. ?Greece has finally generated some good news,? he said.

Adonis Georgiadis, a deputy of the ultranationalist LAOS party, said the coming elections should not deflect attention from the crucial issues facing the country.

Foreign officials, which saw Greece over the past few days dangerously flirt with disorderly default and eurozone exit, expect the 15-week administration to shepherd the 130 billion euro bailout, the debt-wrecked nation’s last financial lifeline, through Parliament.

Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis on Monday welcomed the prospect of elections. However, he warned that the deal does not foresee an ecumenical or national unity government representing all political parties, ?but merely a transitional one.?

The Greek Communist Party (KKE) and the leftist SYRIZA party on Sunday said they would boycott a meeting between the Greek president and all party leaders on Monday on the grounds that the new government would not emerge from elections and would therefore be illegitimate. The meeting was cancelled as a result.

Papandreou, who sealed his fate last week with a disastrous attempt to call a referendum on the recent bailout, will according to the Sunday deal step down halfway through his four-year term. He and his conservative nemesis Antonis Samaras were due to resume talks Monday to name the country’s new prime minister.

A former deputy president of the European Central Bank, Lucas Papademos, was slated as the front runner for the post.

Finance ministers of euro countries meet in Brussels on Monday evening. Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn has said that euro area finance ministers expect Greece’s Evangelos Venizelos to provide more details about the crisis government deal.