PM rules out snap polls

Sa­ma­ras high­lights need for sta­bil­ity after Tsipras asks pres­i­dent to in­ter­vene

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras yes­ter­day re­jected calls by left­ist SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras for snap polls, ac­cus­ing the op­po­si­tion chief of seek­ing to desta­bi­lize the coun­try amid the first signs of re­cov­ery, and ex­press­ing his con­vic­tion that Par­lia­ment will elect a pres­i­dent early next year de­spite the odds.

“Mr Tsipras once again sought early elec­tions, pre­cisely what the Greek peo­ple do not want and what in­ter­na­tional mar­kets fear,” Sa­ma­ras said fol­low­ing a meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Karo­los Papou­lias who ear­lier had re­ceived Tsipras. “I had the chance to re­peat... that there will be no early elec­tions,” Sa­ma­ras said, adding that it was his “deep con­vic­tion” that MPs would elect a pres­i­dent when Papou­lias’s term ends in March, avert­ing snap polls.“We have come far, way too far, to throw ev­ery­thing away,” Sa­ma­ras said.

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, Tsipras asked Papou­lias to call a meet­ing of party lead­ers to de­cide on a date for early gen­eral elec­tions and agree on a new pres­i­den­tial can­di­date that could be ap­proved by MPs after the snap polls. “There needs to be a strong gov­ern­ment with a pow­er­ful popular man­date,” Tsipras said, not­ing that a new ad­min­is­tra­tion could bet­ter ne­go­ti­ate with Greece’s cred­i­tors.

Papou­lias, for his part, re­marked that a “min­i­mum con­sen­sus” for eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal is­sues was re­quired.

The gov­ern­ment has been lob­by­ing for an early exit from the mem­o­ran­dum, say­ing Greece can go it alone on cap­i­tal mar­kets and use some 11.5 bil­lion euros in resid­ual fund­ing from the re­cap­i­tal­iza­tion of banks as an emer­gency cash re­serve. Yes­ter­day a high-rank­ing Euro­pean of­fi­cial in­di­cated that new as­sis­tance would not be with­out con­di­tions. “A com­pletely clean exit is highly un­likely,” the of­fi­cial told re­porters. “What­ever op­tions we may be adopt­ing, it will be a con­trac­tual re­la­tion­ship be­tween the euro area in­sti­tu­tions and the Greek au­thor­i­ties,” he said.

Of­fi­cials are ex­pected to reach a decision on this new re­la­tion­ship at a Eurogroup sum­mit on De­cem­ber 8 though the mat­ter is likely to be ad­dressed at a meet­ing of eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters on Thurs­day.

Troika au­di­tors are set to re­turn to Athens once the gov­ern­ment has sent them its fi­nal po­si­tions on pen­sion and la­bor mar­ket re­forms.

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