Greek Coalition Needs 'Breathing Room' From Creditors: MP

The new government of Greece, expected to be announced within days, will need some more “breathing room” from its international creditors, a rising star within the conservative New Democracy party has warned.

A man makes a phone call next garbage in Athens due to a strike by municipal and public sector workers.
A man makes a phone call next garbage in Athens due to a strike by municipal and public sector workers.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, an MP for New Democracy, which won most votes in Sunday’s election and was Tuesday locked in negotiations with historic rivals Pasok and the Democratic Left to form a coalition, told CNBC: “Giving a very sick patient nothing but the same medicine when this has not had the required result would be madness.”

The new coalition is hoping for some renegotiation of the terms of Greece’s bailout to help it keep power. The alternative could be government by anti-bailout left-wing Syriza, the prospect of which has sent markets plummeting before.

Mitsotakis is the son of former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis and was born in exile during the military dictatorship which ruled Greece between 1967-74.

The Harvard graduate, who is tipped for a ministerial position in the new government, possibly at the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, said that he understood the “skepticism” about the two parties many blame for the current state of affairs governing the country again.

“A lot of people hold us accountable for the mess that the country is in, and there’s probably truth in that. We need some symbolic gestures to indicate that the political system will change,” he said.

He argued that Pasok had not been able to make the necessary structural changes because of their alliances with unions. “We are not going to make the same mistake,” he promised. “We realize that the generation of growth has to come from the private sector.”

However, Mitsotakis maintained that the historic rivals could work together to help solve Greece’s economic problems.

Greek political sources suggest that Antonis Samaras, who led New Democracy to victory, may have to concede that he will not be Prime Minister to ensure Pasok’s cooperation. Pasok were frustrated with the lack of cooperation from him while they were in power.

Former Pasok leader George Papandreou, who quit as Prime Minister last year in favor of a technocratic government, told CNBC Monday that the parties needed to work together for the national good.