ATHENS – Opposition parties are ripping Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for his coalition government’s stalled talks with international creditors over terms of a third bailout.
Tsipras, the leader of the Radical Left SYRIZA, and his partner, the, far-right nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL) have reneged on campaign promises to reverse austerity and been locked in negotiations with lenders since last August about the rescue package of 86 billion euros ($97.3) billion.
The Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-IMF-ECB) want more pension cuts and spending reductions as well as faster privatizations and to let banks go after people who can’t pay their loans, mortgages or credit cards because of big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed benefits and worker firings that Tsipras campaigned against but has mostly accepted.
The talks have broken off and Greece is fast going broke again and needing more money to make loan repayments in July. The EU has rejected Tsipras’ call for an emergency meeting.
That led criticism across-the-board from the government’s opposition. Partners in a former coalition, the once-ruling New Democracy (ND) Conservatives and PASOK Socialists called for Tsipras to resign and the marginal To Potami centrists said they fear snap elections, which would be the third in 18 months if held soon.
ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will tour Greece after Easter, visiting businesses and communities to demand Tsipras’ resignation and new elections, Kathimerini said.
Costis Hatzidakis, responsible for ND’s shadow policy program, will meet members of unions and employers’ associations, groups which had opposed his party when it imposed austerity, which it now rejects, although critics said it would have to implement again if it returns to party.
PASOK said Tsipras’ coalition is a “circus” and that its departure would be the only way to “avoid the abyss to which they are leading the country.”
But To Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis said snap polls would be tantamount to “Russian roulette” and said he hopes Tsipras stays and not take an “heroic exit.”
Speaking in the central town of Volos, Theodorakis ruled out the possibility of his party joining a broadened coalition with SYRIZA-ANEL, parties he has opposed.