Mr Pantelis Kapsis, a spokesman for the coalition government led by former central bank chief Lucas Papademos, said on Tuesday that the country would officially enter a pre-election period at the end of March.
When pushed for an exact election date, according to a report in the Athens News
, Kapsis said, "First the government will complete its work in March and then elections will be held in April. I cannot get into specific dates".
The interim national union government headed by technocrat Papademos was formed in November, 2011with the specific goal of easing the way for the EU bailout and improving conditions in Greece ahead of the election that had tentatively been scheduled for March or April, 2012. The head of the governing PASOK party at that time, George Papandreou, stepped down as Prime Minister. His resignation was one of the conditions set by the opposition parties for their support in the formation of a coalition government aimed at pushing through the reforms required by the the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Union.
Opposition parties New Democracy and LAOS said they would support the measures only if a general election was held in February 2012. In the meantime, it became clear that Greece would not be able to raise the money needed to pay the bonds due in March 2012, so a second bailout package was called for. Due to the difficulty of the situation, the election was postponed.
Now that the second bailout package has been approved, calls for a general election have resurfaced. PASOK has made it clear that they would prefer to delay the election until the government has had sufficient time to implement the tough new measures and allow the political and economical climate to calm down. New Democracy leader, Anthony Samaras, however, called for immediate elections as soon as the bond swap deal is completed as reported by Business Weekly.
According to Kathimerini
, one of the conditions set by the IMF, CB and EU before they release the funds contained in the new bailout package is that party leaders sign a written agreement that they will honor their commitment to the austerity program no matter who wins the election.