PM’s ref­er­ence to snap polls fu­els spec­u­la­tion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

After week­sof the gov­ern­ment in­sist­ing that it will see its four-year term through un­til 2019, the ad­mis­sion by Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras that the col­lapse of talks with cred­i­tors could spark snap elec­tions fu­eled spec­u­la­tion and con­cern yes­ter­day.

The com­ments, made by Tsipras to SYRIZA MPs on Wed­nes­day, con­sti­tute the first de­par­ture from the gov­ern­ment’s nar­ra­tive fore­see­ing the swift con­clu­sion of the cur­rent bailout re­view, then debt re­lief fol­lowed by Greece’s in­clu­sion in the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing pro­gram and its tap­ping of cap­i­tal mar­kets.

Pri­vately, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials con­cede that this am­bi­tious plan will be im­pos­si­ble to re­al­ize and are ex­press­ing con­cerns about what course of ac­tion Greece’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors may take.

In their pub­lic state­ments, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have said Athens still ex­pects moves on debt re­lief on De­cem­ber 5 when eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters are to meet but they are now say­ing that a “po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion” will be re­quired with some is­sues to be left pend­ing.

As for the fresh spec­u­la­tion about snap polls prompted by Tsipras’s com­ments, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials did not rule out the prospect. In com­ments to Real FM, In­te­rior Min­is­ter Panos Sk­ourletis put the onus on avoid­ing snap polls on Greece’s cred­i­tors. “If we are led to elec­tions, that will be due to our in­abil­ity to find com­mon ground with our part­ners which will not be with­out con­se­quences,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously such a de­vel­op­ment – though not among the in­ten­tions of the gov­ern­ment – could lead to elec­tions but that would be dam­ag­ing.”

For­mer prime min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras weighed in, telling re­porters that snap polls were pos­si­ble. “The many prob­lems, the bad judg­ment calls, the [bailout] re­view and all the ac­tions that need to be en­forced im­me­di­ately... in­clud­ing pen­sion re­forms, lead one to many thoughts,” he said.

A pro­tester shouts slo­gans through a loud­speaker dur­ing a demon­stra­tion in Athens mark­ing a 24-hour strike yes­ter­day called by the pub­lic sec­tor union ADEDY against tax and pen­sion re­forms de­manded by Greece’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors.

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