Antonis Samaras begins urgent Greece coalition talks
The leader of the party that narrowly won Greece’s election has begun urgent talks to form a coalition, saying he wants to forge a “national consensus”.
New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras met leaders of the other two largest parties, but no deal on a coalition has yet been announced.
Mr Samaras says he will seek changes in the terms of a bailout agreement reached with the EU and IMF.
Market responses to the poll result were mixed and bank stocks plummeted.
Mr Samaras called for a “national understanding” as he met President Karolos Papoulias earlier to be given a formal mandate.
Under the constitution, Mr Papoulias has given Mr Samaras three days to form a government.
Mr Samaras said he believed he could form a working coalition.
Initial market rallies quickly reversed, suggesting that the election had not been enough to persuade markets that the euro problem was under control.
Germany’s Commerzbank was down 3.6% and France’s BNP down 3.3%, with analysts saying much uncertainty remained.
Spanish government borrowing costs rose to a euro-era high, with 10-year bonds reaching 7.144%.
The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Athens says Mr Samaras will push for a lightening of the bailout terms from Brussels, arguing that Greeks have accepted more pain by electing a pro-bailout party and that Europe should now cut Greece some slack.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the future government to live up to its obligations, and said any weakening of reform pledges previously made by Greece would be unacceptable.
Pictured: Mr Samaras wants a “national salvation” government but Mr Tsipras says he will play no part in it