Greek voters are unlikely to pick a clear winner in a snap election that is expected to send a record number of parties to parliament next month and test the international bailout keeping the country afloat. Political analysts say the outcome of the May 6 election is hard to predict. The conservative New Democracy party is seen ahead but not by enough to take sole charge of the indebted euro zone member. This could lead to days or weeks of negotiations while it forges a coalition with the Socialist PASOK party to impose austerity and reforms to meet the terms of a second 130 billion euro bailout from Europe and the International Monetary Fund. “It’s a great puzzle,” said Theodore Couloumbis of the ELIAMEP think tank. “I hope the pro-bailout parties will be able to form a government. This is the most likely scenario.”
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has called elections on 6 May, after five months of technocratic government. Mr Papademos, an economist, was made prime minister last November to help steer Greece through its debt crisis. He told a cabinet meeting that the government had left behind “an important legacy” and would continue its work during the election campaign. After asking President Karolos Papoulias to dissolve parliament, he will then speak on national TV. The election will be Greece’s first since the start of the debt crisis that has led to drastic spending cuts and violent protests. Opinion polls suggest parties opposed to austerity could make big gains. The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Athens says the 6 May date comes after months of speculation and raises the prospect of a short and highly-charged campaign.
The precise date of the general elections will be finalised during Holy Week, which this year starts on April 9, the government spokesman said on Monday. Speaking on SKAI TV, Pantelis Kapsis said on Monday, adding that nothing has changed with regard to the proposed dates, which are April 29 or May 6. Kapsis emphasised his view that the work of government must continue before and after the elections, adding that there is no room for slackness. “The impression must not be created among the public that the difficulties have passed,” Kapsis said.