Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ coalition government’s constant relenting to demands from international lenders is proof that the country needs new leadership and accused the New Democracy Conservative leader of “surrendering” to austerity and orders from outside forces.
Tsipras, who is against the austerity measures being imposed on the orders of the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) said the government has become the “pushover of Europe” by constantly relenting to new demands.
“Whatever they tell them, they just accept it,” Tsipras told a gathering of Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) workers in Athens, referring to government officials’ stance in talks with foreign envoys that have stalled over a lack of progress in reforms.
He blasted the government for repeatedly demanding that SYRIZA make public its alternative plan for the country’s economic recovery, charging that the coalition’s own plan “consists of accepting whatever the Troika demands.”
Tsipras has not offered any solutions to the country’s crushing economic crisis and said he would keep spending at a bankrupt level and wouldn’t fire any public workers in a hugely bloated public workforce, one of the prime reasons for the country’s fiscal woes. He hasn’t explained from where the money would come to sustain it.
In a commentary published in the Efimerida ton Syntakton, he accused the uneasy coalition government led by Samaras, the New Democracy conservatie leader, with his partners the PASOK Socialists and Democratic Left (DIMAR) daily, meanwhile, Tsipras went further, accusing the government of “surrendering” to the Troika and called on Samaras to seek alliances with Southern European states in a bid to stop the austerity drive in the Eurozone.
Tsipras also belittled the role of PASOK and DIMAR and called for early elections. “Let him call elections immediately so a new government with a fresh mandate, based around the left, and with the dynamic support of a big social majority can try to win back for the country the time we have lost during the time we have been government by memorandums,” said Tsipras in his op-ed.
A bevy of recent polls show New Democracy and SYRIZA nearly even, but with Samaras having a runaway lead as the choice for Prime Minister with Tspiras polling at under 30 percent in support.
With media reports that Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras supposedly told the Troika that it was exerting too much pressure on the coalition and he would turn over the keys to the Finance Ministry to the SYRIZA leader, Tsipras said Samaras “might as well hand us the keys now” if he was not prepared to try to forge alliances.
The government, apparently fearing a political backlash and retriggering social unrest, is trying to persuade the Troika to back off demands for the firing of 25,000 public workers, responding that it could get rid of as many as 8,000 disciplinary cases instead.
But also unsettling the administration now is the suspension of a merger between National Bank of Greece and Eurobank, to which the Troika had objected, and as a long-delayed recapitalization of banks is still on hold.