Bloomberg News

Greece Needs Government, Pro-European Front, Manos Says

May 14, 2012

Greek political leaders should create a pro-European front to keep the country in the euro region if a new election is called, said Drasi party leader Stefanos Manos.

“The priority is for the country to be governed immediately and effectively,” Manos, whose party didn’t make it into parliament in the May 6 vote, said in an e-mailed statement from Athens today. “But if elections aren’t avoided, we will help” create a pro-European front that includes the New Democracy, Pasok and Democratic Alliance parties.

The four parties received a combined 36.5 percent of the vote, which indicates they may be able to secure a majority in parliament if they unite in a new election. They all agree Greece must stay in the euro, work with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to improve commitments made to secure bailout funds and adopt growth measures.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias is holding talks with parliamentary party leaders in a last effort to form a unity government after the election didn’t produce a clear winner and the three biggest parties failed to form a coalition when given a mandate. If he also fails, a new election will have to be called as early as next month, which has raised concerns about a Greek euro exit.

New Democracy and Pasok came first and third, with 18.9 percent and 13.2 percent of the vote respectively. Democratic Alliance and Drasi got 2.6 percent and 1.8 percent, below the 3 percent threshold to secure entry into the 300-seat chamber.

An opinion poll today showed 54 percent of 1,002 Greeks surveyed want the country to stick to its current economic financial aid plan and 81.4 percent said they want it to remain in the euro area. The survey, by Rass SA for Eleftheros Typos newspaper, indicated Syriza, Greece’s biggest anti-bailout party, which has refused to join a unity government, would emerge as the winner in fresh elections, though short of an outright majority.

Manos, 72, who founded Drasi in 2009, said the pro-European reformist front will “stand against the powers, which in refusing to accept reality are leading Greece out of Europe.” Drasi wants less government, a base monthly pension of 700 euros ($899) and a maximum personal income-tax rate of 30 percent as well as deregulation of all professions. Manos, a former New Democracy finance minister, supports state-asset sales and real- estate development to pay down Greece’s debt.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Weeks in Athens at nweeks2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net


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