The results of the Greek elections show a scattered landscape. The two biggest parties, PASOK and New Democracy, suffered a major blow and the rise of different small, radical parties (e.g. Communist party 8.47%, far right neo-Nazi party 6.97%,…) reflects the unease of the Greek people.
The election result shows that New Democracy is the biggest party (18.92%; 108 seats (50 seat bonus for being the winners)). The coalition of the radical left (SYRIZA) comes in second (16.75%; 52 seats) and the PASOK party finishes third (13.22%; 41 seats). Under Greek electoral law, ND leader Samaras now has three days to form a government. He said he would seek to form a “national salvation government”, a pro-European national unity administration, and pledged to amend Greece’s debt deal with EU/IMF. A coalition between pro-European New Democracy and PASOK is not possible in the 300-seat parliament and the possibility of a third group joining looks very slim as nearly all other parties that won seats have an anti EU/IMF, anti-bailout feeling in common.
The best hope would be the Democratic Left (6.09%; 19 seats), which maintained a clear pro-European stance during the campaign. However, the party leader repeated his position that cooperation with ND and PASOK was not in Democratic Left’s intentions. If Samaras fails to form a government, the leader of the second Greek party (SYRIZA) will get three days as well to try to form a government, but given the tight outcome of the vote it is unlikely that the anti-European parties can form a coalition as well.
Finally, if this would fail, the leader of the third party (PASOK) gets three days as well. If the top three parties fail to form a coalition government, President Papoulias has the right to broker a deal to create a national unity administration. If that effort fails, Greece will have to go to new elections in a few months, a scenario which shouldn’t be excluded anymore.
The IMF has already warned that it would be unwilling to release its first quarterly aid payment, due this summer, if Greece does not implement reforms pledged when the bailout was agreed in February. The outcome of the elections will likely have a negative impact on Greek spreads and on intra-EMU spreads in general. The results of the French elections (PS Hollande wins, see below) will likely also weigh on spreads today.