Coali­tion and ND trade blows

Af­ter cab­i­net reshuf­fle, at­ten­tion turns again to trou­bled ef­fort to elect board for broad­cast­ing watch­dog

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Newly ap­point­ed­gov­ern­ment spokesman Dim­itris Tzanakopou­los yes­ter­day dis­missed talk of Greece hav­ing to sign a fourth bailout as a New Democ­racy ploy. At the same time, con­ser­va­tive leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis ap­pealed to SYRIZA vot­ers on Crete to aban­don the party and throw their weight be­hind the main op­po­si­tion.

At his first sched­uled press con­fer­ence since be­ing made spokesman in Fri­day’s reshuf­fle, Tzanakopou­los in­sisted there was no ques­tion of Athens hav­ing to sign a new loan agree­ment, in­clud­ing a com­mit­ment to im­ple­ment more mea­sures, so the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund would agree to join the Greek bailout pro­gram.

“A new re­la­tion­ship with any of our part­ners is not on the agenda now,” he told jour­nal­ists, adding that talk of a fourth mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing was be­ing pushed by New Democ­racy.

“They want the govern­ment’s ef­fort to se­cure debt re­lief to fail so they have an ex­cuse to im­pose a harsh aus­ter­ity pro­gram in re­turn for debt re­lief,” added Tzanakopou­los.

Speak­ing in Rethymno, Crete, Mit­so­takis called on dis­grun­tled vot­ers to sup­port New Democ­racy.

“I ask you not to wal­low in your dis­ap­point­ment and frus­tra­tion,” he said. “The way you voted pre­vi­ously is ir­rel­e­vant. The sit­u­a­tion our coun­try finds it­self in means that we all have to go be­yond our­selves. I don’t want yes­ter­day to di­vide us, I want to­mor­row to unite us.”

Mit­so­takis also ap­peared to take a tough stance on to­mor­row’s meet­ing of party rep­re­sen­ta­tives for their lat­est at­tempt to elect a board at the Na­tional Coun­cil for Ra­dio and Tele­vi­sion (ESR). He said the can­di­dates put for­ward would have to guar­an­tee the “in­de­pen­dent, trust­wor­thy, im­par­tial and tech­no­cratic” func- tion­ing of the broad­cast­ing watch­dog.

The op­po­si­tion leader also in­sisted that Dig­i­tal Pol­icy and Me­dia Min­is­ter Nikos Pap­pas would have to aban­don his “dog­matic ob­ses­sion” that only four TV li­censes should be is­sued.

Govern­ment sources in­di­cated the coali­tion is con­fi­dent it will be able to gain the sup­port of PASOK and To Po­tami for the ESR board hope­fuls, leav­ing New Democ­racy iso­lated if it re­jects them. Pap­pas said that the govern­ment will not at­tempt to leg­is­late a new li­cens­ing sys­tem un­til “all pos­si­bil­i­ties for reach­ing con­sen­sus on ESR have been ex­hausted.”

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