Despite Growing Rout Fears, Tsipras Rules Out May 26 Elections

FILE - Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during his opening speech at Wednesday's Cabinet meeting, FEB. 20, 2019. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Tatiana Bollari)

With worries his ruling Radical Left SYRIZA is on a path to defeat after he reneged on anti-austerity promises for four years, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his government will run out its term until elections in the fall, not in the spring.

Trailing by double digits to the party he unseated in 2015, Tsipras said he would not call for snap polls on May 26 to coincide with those for the European Parliament and Greek municipalities, he told a gathering of his youth wing, said the business paper Naftemporiki.

“Even though many have ‘titillated’ me with the prospect of holding national and European Parliament elections the same day, I have resisted and this will not happen,” he said, repeating a pattern of stories in which it’s been reported he wants to simultaneously hold out the prospect of snap elections while saying he won’t call them.

A majority of Cabinet ministers, SYRIZA lawmakers and top officials reportedly want him to stay in power until October, apparently believing he could pick up momentum over handouts and if the wobbly economy starts to struggle to its feet after nine years of crisis.

That would also, it was reasoned, time for him and his anti-nationalist party to distance itself from a deal he made to give away the name of the ancient Greek province of Macedonia in renaming the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as North Macedonia.

That was opposed by some two-thirds of Greeks and his own former coalition partner, the tiny, pro-austerity, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) of former defense minister Panos Kammenos who took his party out the government in protest.

But a minority of SYRIZA lawmakers were said to think that if New Democracy demolishes SYRIZA in the local and European elections that a rout for the general elections would be on and unstoppable.