A communist coalition got its chance to lead the nation Wednesday after conservatives and socialists, the top two finishers in the June 18 national elections, failed in their efforts to form a government.
Greece has been run by a caretaker government since June 18, when none of the nation's parties won an absolute majority in the 300-seat Parliament.The conservative New Democracy party finished first, Premier Andreas Papandreou's Panhellenic Socialist Movement finished second, and the communist Coalition of Left and Progress was third.
The conservatives were given three days to form a coalition but were spurned by the communists. Papandreou's party was next in line, and the communists also refused to join the socialists in governing Greece.
As third-place finisher, the communists were given three days by President Christos Sartzetakis today to try their hand at forming a coalition among the disparate parties.
The leader of the Coalition of Left and Progress, Harilaos Florakis, opened negotiations Tuesday with the New Democracy conservatives, and another meeting was scheduled Wednesday between Florakis and New Democracy party leader Constantine Mitsotakis.
The communist coalition finished the elections with 28 parliamentary seats, the New Democracy party won 145 seats and the socialists won 125. An independent and a small party won the rest of the seats.
Florakis said his party wants a coalition government of "widespread acceptance" to bring to trial former socialist ministers accused of involvement in a major bank embezzlement scandal.
"We want a government that will not be accused of attempting to cover up the scandals, a government that will not be accused of seeking revenge," Florakis said.