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Samaras Says Politics Halted Troika Greece Debt Relief OK

The National Herald Archive

Former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' government fell over his nomination for Greece's President

ATHENS - Former prime minister Antonis Samaras said the country's lenders prevented debt relief in 2014 because of political worries.

At that time, while he was ruling, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) was dealing with his government, which also included its otherwise rival, the PASOK Socialists, who went belly-up after supporting austerity measures.

Speaking to Sunday’s Kathimerini, Samaras, now a New Democracy MP, said that the creditors realized snap elections were on the horizon in Greece due to difficulties in electing a new President of the republic and chose not to reach a deal with his coalition.

“The review did not close for political reasons: Our lenders realized that we would probably not manage to elect a new president and be forced to head to snap elections,” he said, arguing that the fiscal shortfall needed to conclude negotiations was around 600 million euros, some $647.13 million.

“The lenders feared that if Greece got the final installment of 7.2 billion euros ($7.7 billion) in December 2014, the money would be in danger of ending up in the hands of the next government, which was threatening to blow everything sky-high,” Samaras said.

“That is when we saw them start increasing their demands so that the review would never be completed.”

He didn't mention that it was his nomination of party's own Vice-President to be Greece's President, instead of a traditionally more neutral pick, that led to his administration's downfall.