One of the three “inalienable” conditions imposed by the New Democracy leader, Antonis Samaras, to support a national salvation government in Greece, was the date of early elections, which he had helped to ensure would be scheduled for February 19 2012. But with the likely resolution of the problem of Greece’s sixth tranche of aid, postponement of the elections is again looking probable.
The time available to the government between now and then does not seem sufficient to reach all of the targets set by the executive itself.
One of the main factors in support of the delay is the failure by Samaras to mention the possibility of early elections in the letter he sent two days ago to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, the President of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the director general of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.
Samaras used the letter to express his full support for the objectives set as part of the deals reached with Greece’s European partners and the serious commitment of his party and the Greek people to the European Union and the single currency.
The Prime Minister, Lucas Papademos, also called the date “approximate”, while the Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, told the Council of Ministers that February 19 2012 was the “conventional” date, saying that the government would not have completed its tasks by the end of January, as previously expected.
Talks with the “troika” (IMF, EU and ECB) are expected to begin on December 12, following the approval by Parliament of the country’s budget for 2012, which in turn should come on December 7. Venizelos added that Private Sector Involvement (PSI) procedures would not be completed before the middle of February.