Greek President Pitches New Government Plan

Greek President Karolos Papoulias proposed a government of prominent non-politicians to steer the country and avert new elections as doubts mount that Greece can avoid an exit from the euro area.

Papoulias will call a meeting of all leaders of parties represented in parliament except for an ultra-nationalist party for 2 p.m. in Athens tomorrow to discuss the proposal, said Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of Pasok, the third-biggest party. Venizelos spoke after meeting with Papoulias and the leaders of two other parties.

“Pasok is taking a responsible stance,” Venizelos said in comments televised live on state-run NET TV. “We support a government of prominent figures as a necessary solution.”

The new plan threatens to extend the political gridlock that has left the country without a government for more than a week since the inconclusive May 6 elections. Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis, who attended today’s meeting, said he was opposed to the plan and will attend tomorrow to press for his unity government proposal, which has already been rejected by the second-biggest party, Syriza.

Papoulias spent yesterday trying to coax the country’s three biggest parties into a coalition. If his efforts fail, new elections will need to be called.

Greece’s political impasse has raised the possibility another vote will have to be held as early as next month, with polls showing that could boost the anti-bailout Syriza to the top spot. The standoff has reignited concern the country will renege on pledges to cut spending as required by the terms of its two bailouts negotiated since May 2010, and, ultimately, leave the euro area.

Syriza, now Greece’s biggest anti-bailout party, defied overtures to join the government yesterday, with leader Alexis Tsipras boycotting today’s meeting. Tsipras will attend the meeting tomorrow, NET reported, without saying how it got the information.

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