Whoever followed yesterday’s meeting (May 13) between the leaders of PASOK (Socialist Party), New Democracy (right-of-centre) and the Coalition of the Radical Left Syriza, while knowing their true motives, would have doubled up with laughter.

The story was clearly a piece of captivating theatre, albeit with a crude sense of humour. The meeting was supposed to be crucial and dramatic. The three leaders around Greece’s president Karolos Papoulias negotiated to see if it was possible to form a coalition government or if the country should instead look to hold new parliamentary elections in June. The aim of some of the politicians is clear: fulfilling their own self-interest. Elections could cover up or entirely wipe out the election results of each party. Let's look at what everyone wants.

Antonis Samaras, the leader of New Democracy (ND), wants to avoid elections no matter what. His obsession is misplaced if you believe ND’s results in the May 6 elections when they polled 18.85%, the lowest result in ND’s history. Rather than provide the majority Samaras wanted, it ended the party’s political future.

After this result Samaras would normally have been ousted from the leadership, if there were no possibility of joining a coalition government and if there had not been the chance of new elections in a month. Even with such a ridiculous score, ND is still at the top, finding itself with twice the number of members as it should have obtained (108 out of 300 deputies, thanks to a law which means that the leading party gets a bonus 50 members).

But if there are new elections, Syriza will undoubtedly be the number-one party, and pocket the bonus. This means that ND will lose 50 to 60 seats. If this is the case, Antonis Samaras will have to leave the party that very night, if he wants to avoid being eaten alive by rival contenders fighting to get his job.

An unprecedented score

Evangelos Venizelos is in the same situation. PASOK is out of touch, plagued by divisions and fast disappearing from the political scene, after gaining only 13.18% of the vote and 41 members on May 6. Its president is looking to repair the damage. If he does not participate in a future government, Venizelos will have the same future as Samaras. He will do anything to form a government and avoid being thrown out.

On the other side is Alexis Tsipras and Syriza, which got 16.78% of the vote and 52 deputies on May 6. The party is riding a wave due to its stance against the memorandum signed by the Greek government with the EU-ECB-IMF troika (which details the savings and reforms to be undertaken in exchange for help financial), and it has every reason to seek new elections. It might get 120 or 130 seats – a historic score for the left. He has therefore decided not to support the traditional parties.

To be fair, it must be said that Alex Tsipras has no interest in participating in a government with New Democracy and PASOK, which have 149 seats between them – a majority in parliament is 151 seats – and he would lose his credibility with the Greeks if he did.

So the only hope lies in Fotis Kouvelis, from the Democratic Left. However, he has failed to convince Tsipras. If Kouvelis finally agrees to join PASOK and ND, then they would have a total of 168 seats, but they would still only represent 38% of the Greek population.