Anti-bailout Syriza wants early elec­tion date

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Op­po­si­tion leader Alexis Tsipras of the left­ist anti-EU bailout Syriza has called on other party lead­ers to set a date for an early elec­tion, ar­gu­ing that polls must be held be­fore the gov­ern­ment signs a new bind­ing deal with the troika of in­ter­na­tional lenders. The frag­ile coali­tion gov­ern­ment is un­der pres­sure ahead of a cru­cial pres­i­den­tial vote next Fe­bru­ary, which could trig­ger a snap elec­tion and bring Tsipras’s rad­i­cal left­ist party to power. In an ef­fort to gain pub­lic support, Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras’ gov­ern­ment hopes to ne­go­ti­ate an early exit from the 240 bln euro EU-IMF bailout by the end of this year, ahead of sched­ule, and Tsipras said after meet­ing Pres­i­dent Karo­los Papou­lias that a fu­ture Syriza gov­ern­ment would not re­spect de­ci­sions made with­out its con­sent.

The coun­try’s next sched­uled par­lia­men­tary elec­tion is set for the sum­mer of 2016, but a snap poll would be called if Sa­ma­ras fails to elect his nom­i­nee for pres­i­dent, support for which he cur­rently does not have with Syriza lead­ing opin­ion polls with a 4 to 11 per­cent­age point mar­gin over the Prime Min­siter’s New Democ­racy con­ser­va­tives.

Sa­ma­ras, who also met Papou­lias on Mon­day, said he re­fused to bow to Tsipras’s de­mand for an early elec­tion, say­ing he was con­vinced par­lia­ment would elect a new pres­i­dent in Fe­bru­ary.

“We’ve walked too long a road to blow ev­ery­thing up now,” Sa­ma­ras told re­porters.

Sa­ma­ras’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment has 155 deputies in the 300-seat par­lia­ment and needs the support of 180 MPs to se­cure vic­tory for its can­di­date. Syriza and other anti-bailout par­ties have promised to block his can­di­date.

Mean­while, a se­nior of­fi­cial in Brussels was quoted as say­ing that Greece is “highly un­likely” to end its bailout pro­gramme this year with­out some new form of as­sis­tance that will re­quire it to meet tar­gets.

“A com­pletely clean exit is highly un­likely. We will have to ex­plore what other op­tions there are. What­ever op­tions we may be adopt­ing, it will be a con­trac­tual re­la­tion­ship be­tween the euro area in­sti­tu­tions and the Greek au­thor­i­ties,” the of­fi­cial said. The gov­ern­ment in Athens has said it wants its bailout to end when EU fund­ing stops, though the IMF is sched­uled to stay on to early 2016.

The EU of­fi­cial said he ex­pected euro zone min­is­ters and Greece to de­cide on a fi­nal out­come at a meet­ing of fi­nance min­is­ters in Brussels on De­cem­ber 8.

Pol­i­cy­mak­ers have said that the most likely tool for the new fi­nan­cial aid is an En­hanced Con­di­tions Credit Line, or ECCL, from the Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity Mech­a­nism.

That means that Greece would con­tinue to re­main un­der de­tailed surveil­lance from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion for the du­ra­tion of the credit line.

Of­fi­cial have also sug­gested that un­used eu­ro­zone funds ear­marked for the re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of Greek banks could be used in a new credit line. The Greek bank bailout fund HFSF has a buf­fer of about 11 bln euros and the re­sults of last week’s Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank stress tests showed that only a frac­tion of that will be needed.

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