Tsipras Sees 2015 National Elections

ATHENS – Major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras has reiterated that his party will try to block the naming of a Greek President in 2015 to trigger early national elections.

“In the begging of 2015 we will have elections,” Tsipras said in an interview with CNBC in Como, Italy, predicting that the  ruling New Democracy Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his partner the PASOK Socialists won’t be able to name their man to replace Karolos Papoulias next February.

Election of a Greek President, a symbolic, essentially powerless post, requires 180 votes in the 300-member Parliament so a ruling party or coalition can’t have its way and the government has only 154 votes, giving Tsipras room to maneuver support for his plan from other parties also opposed to the austerity measures Samaras imposed on orders of international lenders.

A political changeover in Greece, Tsipras said once again, was necessary to put an end to the “unacceptable” results of economic austerity.

“I think it is necessary to change policy. And I can’t see any other option rather than to have elections and change government and to have a new majority in Parliament in order to renegotiate that with out partners,” Tsipras said in reference to Greece’s international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which has put up 240 billion euros ($317 billion) in two bailouts.

Speaking to CNBC, the leftist leader also sought to ease concerns of a SYRIZA victory in Greece.

“It is important for everybody to understand that the political change in Greece is not a threat for Europe, but a challenge for Europe: to change policy and to try to find a common viable solution to our common problem,” Tsipras said.

“The European crisis needs European solutions,” he said. He has previously said he would seek to restructure the country’s Troika loans or walk away from them, which would leave Greece broke and locked out of the markets with no money to operate.