Calls for Greek unity govt
The leader of the victorious New Democracy party has called on parties to form a “National Salvation Government” to help Greece out of its economic crisis after voters backed pro-bailout parties in today's elections.
Speaking in Athens this evening, Antonis Samaras vowed to keep Greece “anchored in the euro”. Mr Samaras also hailed his party’s victory, with projections estimating it has won 131 of the 300 seats on offer, as a “victory for all Europe”.
But the leader of Syriza, the anti-austerity coalition, was defiant that anti-austerity measures are the “only viable solution” for Greece to recover. Alexis Tsipras, who conceded defeat, revealed his would be the party of opposition and would not join the government after winning around 27% of votes.
New Democracy could form a coalition with Pasok, the centre-left party, which is estimated to win around 33 seats. However Pasok has indicated it would be unwilling to enter into a coalition with New Democracy without Syriza’s involvement. A New Democracy spokesman has urged all parties, including the anti-austerity Syriza, to form a ‘grand coalition’.
Exit polls found New Democracy won between 28.6 and 30%, edging out the anti-austerity coalition Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras which is on around 27.5 and 28.4%.
Tony Blair earlier issued a stark warning to the eurozone, saying that a "grand plan" from Germany is the only way to save the single currency, regardless of what happens in Greece.
Talking to BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend before the polls closed, the former Prime Minister said Germany would need to make "very large" transfers and expect a series of demonstrable reforms in return.
Mr Blair acknowledged that it was "a big ask to make" but said it was "the only way" he could see the euro surviving.
Earlier Mr Blair's ally Lord Mandelson warned of the potential dire consequences of a Greek exit from the euro.
Speaking to the Andrew Marr Show the former Business Secretary said exiting the single currency would mean "deepening recession, mounting unemployment, probably spiralling inflation".
He also said that the left-wing Syriza party's policies would mean "a terrible path which would make what we have seen recently in Greece look very tame indeed".
His former Labour colleague David Miliband was more cautious in his analysis, telling Sky News' Murnaghan programme that a 'Grexit' was the "second best option" compared to "organised retention of Greece in the eurozone".
In another development, Ed Miliband has revealed in an Independent on Sunday interview that he and François Hollande are working on a centre-left alliance against "collective austerity" in the EU.