ATHENS – Greece’s major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the marginal Independent Greeks (ANEL) have formed an alliance in a bid to block any candidate for Greek President from the ruling parties.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipiras and ANEL chief Panos Kammenos, who are polar opposites politically, came together after the Leftists agreed to back a plan to deal with bad loans.
Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras and his coalition partner the PASOK Socialists would see their government fall unless they can get 180 votes in the 300-member Parliament for their choice of a President in February, 2015 to replace Karolos Papoulias.
They have only 155 votes between them and need to find a way to persuade another 25 lawmakers from parties opposed to the government’s austerity policies to find common ground. A Supreme Court prosecutor is probing charges from SYRIZA that the government is trying to entice or bribe MPs to back its candidate.
“There is a need for different forces, which see things from different viewpoints, to come together in order to stop the catastrophic policies of the memorandum immediately and then to rebuild the economy,” Tsipras said after meeting with Kammenos.
“We can find common ground, while each keeping our red lines, so we can progress to tomorrow,” said Kammenos, a bitter foe of Samaras.
Tsipras said SYRIZA would be in favor of an Independent Greeks proposal for dealing with overdue loans when it is submitted to Parliament. No details of the plan were revealed.
Kammenos said his party would refuse to back the coalition’s Presidential candidate, which is in line with the leftists, who say they will vote against any nominee with the aim of triggering early elections. SYRIZA has 71 votes and ANEL has 13.
PASOK spokesman Dimitris Karydis described the outcome of the meeting as “SYRIZA’s leadership aligning itself with the conspiracy-loving far-right.”
Tsipras was also due to meet the new populist, anti-politician To Potami party this week but its leader Stavros Theodorakis canceled.