PM rules out sce­nar­ios

Sa­ma­ras douses spec­u­la­tion about snap polls, co­op­er­a­tion with SYRIZA

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras in­sisted yes­ter­day that his frag­ile coali­tion gov­ern­ment would see through its four-year term un­til 2016 and doused spec­u­la­tion about the pos­si­ble cre­ation of a grand coali­tion in­volv­ing the left­ist op­po­si­tion SYRIZA, which op­poses the terms of Greece’s in­ter­na­tional bailouts and is ahead in opin­ion polls.

“Greece is ready to turn the page, to exit the mem­o­ran­dum,” Sa­ma­ras said in a speech to mem­bers of his con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy’s par­lia­men­tary group. “Now is the time to show de­ci­sive­ness and sta­bil­ity,” he said in what was widely seen as at­tempt to boost lag­ging morale among ND deputies.

The pre­mier ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of snap elec­tions, once again, and sought to put an end to de­bate about the pos­si­ble need for a broad coali­tion in­clud­ing both ND and SYRIZA in the event that nei­ther are able to form a gov­ern­ment at the next gen­eral elec­tions. “Elec­tions in 2016,” he said. “We do not co­op­er­ate with those who un­der­mine the coun­try.”

“To con­vince them to be­come a cred­i­ble and re­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ment? Yes. But to co-gov­ern as some peo­ple have been dream­ing? No,” he stated.

Sa­ma­ras said that Greece re­mains on track to post a pri­mary sur­plus, adding that the size of the sur­plus for 2013 is larger than an­tic­i­pated, in ex­cess of 1 bil­lion eu­ros. He nudged the coun­try’s for­eign cred­i­tors, who have said that a pri- mary sur­plus would be a ba­sis for the launch of talks on debt relief. “We have achieved and ex­ceeded the terms of the agree­ment,” he said. “Now it’s their turn to honor the agree­ment.”

The pre­mier’s speech sparked a scathing re­sponse from SYRIZA. “It is pa­thetic that the prime min­is­ter of a coun­try which is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an un­prece­dented hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis would reach the point of ex­press­ing pride to the Greek peo­ple for the ‘suc­cesses’ of the mem­o­ran­dum,” SYRIZA said.

Troika in­spec­tors, whose talks with gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have been sus­pended three times since Septem­ber, are due back in Athens “in the next few days,” Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras said yes­ter­day.

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