Greek unity government talks doomed, party leader warns
Greek talks to form unity government are doomed, warns party leader.
ATHENS - Greek talks to form an emergency unity government are doomed by the refusal of the far-left Syriza party to join a coalition, the leader of a smaller party warned on Monday.
President Carolos Papoulias was on Monday due to have talks aimed at breaking a political deadlock since May 6 polls in which voters rejected the major parties' austerity measures imposed under EU and IMF loan agreements.
If they fail to form a government by Thursday, new elections will have to be called for June.
The head of a small leftist party on Monday offered a gloomy prediction for the ongoing talks.
"No unity government can emerge," said Fotis Kouvelis, head of the Democratic Left party, because of the refusal of the second-place radical leftist Syriza party to join a coalition.
"A government without Syriza would not have the necessary popular and parliamentary backing," said Kouvelis, a former Syriza senior member who broke away from the party in 2010, speaking on television.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has said he would not attend the 1630 GMT talks under Papoulias, who has also invited the conservative New Democracy and socialist Pasok parties in a bid to break the impasse.
Opinion polls have indicated that Syriza, which completely rejects the EU-IMF bailout deal, would win a repeat election.
"Syriza wants elections," Kouvelis said, adding that the country was "clearly" heading for a new ballot.
Kouvelis repeated his party's position that Greece must immediately start to disengage itself from the EU-IMF loan memorandum deemed to have plunged the country into a bottomless recession.
Outgoing government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis, speaking on another TV channel, warned that "a political void has been created which is extremely dangerous."
The crisis has raised the spectre of Greece defaulting and leaving the 17-member eurozone -- a threat that will be high on the agenda when eurozone finance ministers meet in Brussels on Monday.
Governments have issued Athens with a clear warning, last week withholding some funds already supposedly signed off for the post-election period.
European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso warned that broken promises render agreements void and raise the prospect of Greece leaving the euro club.
Meanwhile, there was more news on the dire financial situation in Greece.
On Sunday, some party leaders said Papoulias produced a letter from outgoing prime minister Lucas Papademos on the state of the Greek economy. He has however declined to divulge the contents of the letter publicly.
According to local media, the state only has enough cash to pay salaries and pensions until late June.
"The note was mainly on state reserves and the banking system," the government spokesman told Mega TV channel.
"A protracted electoral campaign affects revenue and spending, and a billion euros that was supposed to enter state coffers did not," Kapsis said, referring to scheduled loans withheld by Brussels until after the election.
Papademos has already warned that Greek banks need to be urgently recapitalised after taking major losses in a bond exchange last month that erased nearly a third of Greece's huge debt.