Left-Wing Coalition Emerges As Kingmaker
Jun. 21, 1989
ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ A left-wing alliance has emerged as power broker in efforts to build a coalition government, but Greeks girded for a political crisis and new elections.
The alleged involvement of leaders of Premier Andreas Papandreou's Panhellenic Socialist Party in financial scandals was blamed for its defeat in Sunday's election.
The conservative New Democracy Party, which finished first, today sought partners in an interim coalition government dedicated to investigating the scandals and prosecuting those reponsible. But the alliance of two communist parties has rejected a New Democracy offer.
The alliance also refuses to cooperate with Papandreou, making the possibility of new elections likely and paralyzing Parliament, which cannot order an inquiry if the political parties cannot form a government.
Judicial investigators today asked Parliament to lift the immunity of two former ministers in the defeated socialist government - former deputy premier Agamemnon Koutsogiorgas and former Public Order Minister George Petsos - so they can be prosecuted on bribery charges.
Under the constitution, ministers only can be prosecuted for criminal offenses committed while in office if parliament lifts their immunity.
Under existing judicial regulations, the evidence against the two ministers remains secret until presented to Parliament.
The new Parliament is to convene July 3. There is doubt whether it will do so because of the inability of Constantine Mitsotakis' New Democracy, which won 144 of 300 seats in Parliament, to form a majority government. On Monday, Mitsotakis was given three days to build a coaltiion.
Papandreou's party came second with 125 seats and the communist alliance, which won 29 seats, has become a kingmaker in coalition talks. The communist alliance also has pushed for investigation of the financial scandals, and has refused to join a coalition with Papandreou's party unless he and other party leaders it maintains are tainted by scandal resign.
Koutsogiorgas has been accused of allegedly receiving $2 million from George Koskotas, the owner of the Bank of Crete. Koskotas is now under arrest in the United States pending the hearing of an extradition request by the Greek government.
Koutsogiorgas was dropped from the socialist party's list of candidates following testimony in March by Yannis Mantzouranis that Koutsogiorgas received the money for helping pass a bank secrecy law that blocked investigators from checking into the troubled Bank of Crete.