His party suffered a thrashing in Greece’s general election but conservative Antonis Samaras has been asked to form a coalition government.
Despite the drubbing, New Democracy – led by Samaras – still topped Sunday’s inconclusive poll hence Monday’s meeting with the president. The ruling party was punished by voters, angry over painful austerity cuts made in return for Greece’s international bailout.
The big beneficiary was the country’s youngest political leader Alexis Tsipras whose radical Left Coalition was catapulted into second place. He wants austerity measures stopped and has ruled out any alliance with New Democracy.
The pro-bailout Socialists of Evangelos Venizelos also took a hammering, only managing third place. They could renew their pre-election ruling coalition with the conservatives but together the two parties fall just short of an absolute majority. So further support is needed.
However one group New Democracy won’t work with is the extreme-right Golden Dawn party, despite its major election breakthrough.