New Democracy’s Meimarakis says he will resist Tsipras rush to polls

New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis indicated on Thursday night that he will use his party’s constitutional right to try to form a government, even a minority administration, in a bid to avoid Greece holding snap elections next month.

“We will explore all avenues in an effort to ensure elections are the last option, not the first as [Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras wants,” said Meimarakis, who added that he would speak to all opposition party leaders, perhaps even including Golden Dawn’s Nikos Michaloliakos, and possibly the head of Tsipras’s coalition partner, Panos Kammenos of Independent Greeks.

New Democracy’s decision to explore the possibility of forming a new administration after Tsipras returned his mandate last night is unlikely to bear fruit. Even with the support of Potami and PASOK, the alliance would have nowhere near enough seats for a majority in Parliament and would be unlikely to receive any support from other parties to operate as a minority government.

However, if the conservatives use up the three days of deliberations they are entitled to, the likelihood of the elections being held on September 20 will diminish. There will be an even greater delay if other parties decide to also use their three-day allotments as well.

Meimarakis accused Tsipras of trying to “escape from his problems” and the “ghost” of ex-Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis, who leads SYRIZA’s Left Platform.

MPs from the radical group were said to be meeting in an Athens hotel on Thursday night and are considering breaking away from SYRIZA and forming their own parliamentary group.