ATHENS – Greek President Karolos Papoulias said a new Parliament after the Jan. 25 elections should choose his successor even if a government can’t be formed.
Sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini that Papoulias has been seeking advice over the last few days on how he should handle the situation after Greeks vote.
According to the Constitution, if no party garners enough support to form a majority government, he will give the leader of the top party three days to form a coalition.
If he fails, then the President will have to invite the leader of the second party to try and form a coalition. If that does not work out either, it’s up to the third party to try.
This means that the process would conclude on Feb.4. If party leaders have failed to form a government by then, Papoulias has the authority to invite them for talks with the aim of brokering a deal. If this fails, he can then dissolve Parliament and call new elections.
But that would create a Constitutional problem as Papoulias’ term will have expired by the time second elections are held and a new House is formed. There is confusion over whether that Parliament will be able to elect a new president.
Because of that mess, Papoulias is reportedly set to insist that MPs elected on January 25 elect his successor before new polls, if needed, are called.
The snap polls were called because Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras was unable to get the Parliament to back his party’s Vice-President Stavros Dimas as Papoulias’ successor.
New Democracy is trailing in the polls to the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) that is opposed to the harsh austerity terms he imposed on orders of international lenders.
Papoulias has also received advice on the issue of whether he will need to call Golden Dawn leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, to the Presidential Mansion if the party, charged with Neo-Nazi sympathies, comes third and the first two parties fail to form a government.
Golden Dawn is polling fourth in most surveys, just behind To Potami but if the extremists finish third Papoulias – a Nazi resistance fighter during World War II – would face the embarrassing dilemma of whether to bring Michaloliakos out of jail, where he is being detained while awaiting charges of running a criminal gang.
Papoulias has been told that he does not have to meet Michaloliakos, who is in pre-trial custody, but can call him on the telephone and ask for a party representative to receive the mandate.