SYRIZA feel­ing pres­sure

MPs re­tract com­ments after of­fer­ing deal on pres­i­dent in re­turn for spring vote

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Although gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials were due to hold a late night con­fer­ence call with troika rep­re­sen­ta­tives last night, it was the op­po­si­tion party that was be­gin­ning to show signs of strain.

There was con­fu­sion at SYRIZA yes­ter­day as two MPs were forced to back­track on state­ments they made in ra­dio in­ter­views which sug­gested the party might ac­cept a deal to elect a new pres­i­dent in Fe­bru­ary if the gov­ern­ment agrees to hold snap elec­tions next spring.

“Re­gard­less of whether the 180 [votes to elect a pres­i­dent] can be found, I think the gov­ern­ment should take the decision to set a date for elec­tions and reach an agree­ment on the date for such a vote, which could solve the dead­lock over the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion,” said SYRIZA MP Gior­gos Stathakis, a lead­ing fig­ure within the party on eco­nomic af­fairs.

Fel­low law­maker Stavros Kon­to­nis made a sim­i­lar sug­ges­tion. Both the law­mak­ers’ com­ments ran counter to SYRIZA’s party line, which is that the left­ists will not support any pres­i­den­tial can­di­date so they can try to force snap elec­tions.

“There is only one so­lu­tion: This gov­ern­ment has to go im­me­di­ately,” said SYRIZA hard­liner Panayi­o­tis Lafaza­nis in Par­lia­ment. “We de­mand elec­tions now. There will be no con­sen­sus over the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.”

Both Stathakis and Kon­to­nis is­sued new state­ments clar­i­fy­ing their po­si­tions shortly after their ra­dio in­ter­views. This time, they were in line with their party, ar­gu­ing that elec­tions should be held first and a pres­i­dent elected after the na­tional bal­lot.

Fur­ther ten­sion was ev­i­dent within SYRIZA when MP Yian­nis Mil­ios slammed com­ments from par­lia­men­tary col­league Alexis Mitropou­los in which he sug­gested that if SYRIZA is un­able to win an out­right majority in early elec­tions, it will be forced to con­tinue ap­ply­ing aus­ter­ity poli­cies.

“Any­one who thinks that there are any cir­cum­stances in which SYRIZA will follow the poli­cies set out in the mem­o­ran­dum will have to ex­am­ine their own stance and place within SYRIZA,” said Mil­ios, one of the party’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives on eco­nomic is­sues.

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