ATHENS – Greece’s newly-installed European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said that he did not rule out a coalition government of his ruling New Democracy Conservatives and its bitter foe and political rival, the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party.
Avramopoulos’ comments come as polls show the Leftists pulling away and likely to win the next elections as they try to force early national polls through an attempt to thwart election of a Greek President in February, 2015.
In a interview in the Sunday Feb. 9 edition of the newspaper Kathimerini, Avramopoulos, who just took a seat in Brussels and oversees migration, said, “In a democracy, it is the sovereign people who decide what is doable,” he said. “Politicians and parties are then obliged to find the most appropriate and democratic path to implement this mandate.”
He added: “Partisan polarization is something we have paid for dearly in this country…We must at least realise that this country, a people of 11 million, faced with ruthless global competition, cannot afford the luxury of being divided. The wager of unity is a wager of survival for our nation.”
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has mocked and challenged Prime Minister and New Democracy chief Antonis Samaras for imposing harsh austerity measures on the orders of international lenders.
If SYRIZA wins the next elections, Tsipras has vowed to revise the terms of 240 billion euros ($306 billion) in two bailouts from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) or renege on them, which Samaras said would destroy the country.
Despite those opposing views, New Democracy could maintain a presence in the government if it joined in a coalition with SYRIZA and could keep ministerial seats. Avramopoulos didn’t explain, however, how the two parties which hate each other and have totally different policies and viewpoints as well as being ideological opposites could work together.
Before he left his position as Defense Minister, Avramopoulos received Tsipras to brief him on national security issues.
Avramopoulos echoed Samaras and PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos, the coalition partner’s Deputy Premier/Foreign Minister in trying to persuade Members of Parliament to support whomever the ruling parties nominate for President – which would defeat the attempt by SYRIZA, the party Avramopoulos said he could work with.
He didn’t explain what would happen to PASOK, which gave New Democracy its votes so that Samaras could govern. Venizelos said he would never work with SYRIZA.
He also heaped piles of praise on Samaras, the man who made him a minister and European Commissioner. “Greece in 2014 is very different from Greece in 2012…We must never forget that our country in 2012 was one step from total economic collapse while the danger of an exit from the Eurozone was visible. In two years, Greece has managed to become a world champion in reforms and regain the trust of our partners and international markets,” he said.