Snap polls on way, but when?

Tsipras re­ceives con­trast­ing ad­vice re­gard­ing elec­tion date as ESM ap­proves pro­gram, pre­pares dis­bur­sal

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras ap­pears to have de­cided that Greece should hold early elec­tions but has not yet taken a de­ci­sion on when they should be, sources said yesterday.

Tsipras is lis­ten­ing to ad­vice from gov­ern­ment col­leagues who are rec­om­mend­ing that the polls should be held within Septem­ber as well as those ad­vo­cat­ing that the snap elec­tions should not be called be­fore early Oc­to­ber.

Kathimerini un­der­stands that one set of ad­vis­ers is urg­ing the prime min­is­ter to move swiftly and call a bal­lot for Septem­ber 20 or 27 at the latest so the gov­ern­ment can over­come the in­ter­nal rift that has opened up within SYRIZA. The other group has ad­vised Tsipras not to con­sider elec­tions be­fore Oc­to­ber 11 so the gov­ern­ment has a chance to im­ple­ment its new bailout agree­ment with lenders, build trust with them and per­haps clear the ad­just­ment pro­gram’s first re­view.

“It is clear there are is­sues we have to deal with. We do not deny that,” said gov­ern­ment spokes­woman Olga Gerovasili. She also turned her fire on SYRIZA’s Left Plat­form, ac­cus­ing it of hav­ing de­cided to “over­turn the gov­ern­ment of the left.”

Her com­ments came shortly be­fore the Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity Mech­a­nism’s board of gover­nors an­nounced that it had ap­proved a three­year pro­gram of up to 86 bil­lion eu­ros for Greece. The first dis­burse­ment is due to­day.

The Fi­nance Min­istry said that it would to­tal 13 bil­lion eu­ros, with around 12 bil­lion go­ing into a seg­re­gated ac­count to pay off a bridge loan of 7.2 bil­lion re­ceived last week, a 3.2-bil­lion-euro bond held by the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank that ma­tures to­day and debt obli­ga­tions to the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund.

The re­main­ing funds will be used for in­ter­nal pur­poses, mostly re­duc­ing state ar­rears.

Tsipras also wrote to Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Pres­i­dent Martin Schulz yesterday to ask for the body to be in­cluded in the group of in­sti­tu­tions mon­i­tor­ing Greece’s bailout.

“I deem it po­lit­i­cally im­per­a­tive that the sole Euro­pean in­sti­tu­tion with di­rect pop­u­lar man­date acts as the ul­ti­mate guar­an­tor of demo­cratic ac­count­abil­ity and com­pat­i­bil­ity of eco­nomic pol­icy in Europe,” Tsipras wrote.

The prime min­is­ter’s re­quest will be put to the po­lit­i­cal group­ings in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment when it re­opens, his of­fice said.

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