ATHENS – With Greece going broke and the government locked in stalled talks with international lenders, there’s still no need for snap elections, even rivals said.
Former premier Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative party leader, said June 4 that any talk of snap elections was “nonsense.”
In a televised statement, Samaras – who had hinted his party would vote against any deal that brought more of the austerity measures he had imposed himself – called for a “great national understanding” and unity government, both of which he had rejected while ruling.
Samaras was deposed by the now-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who was elected on the back of pledges to reverse big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings. which he’s finding tough to do as Greece has no money.
Samaras’s comments came after a five-hour meeting between Greece’s creditors and Tsipras in Brussels that failed to bring a deal. Tsipras refuses to implement reforms, leading to a delay in release of a 7.2-billion euro ($7.9 billion) installment.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis also said that he saw “no reason whatsoever” for Greece to go to early elections, playing down growing speculation the government was considering it, even as a way to cull the most radical elements from SYRIZA who don’t want a deal.
“The people have given our government a clear mandate,” Varoufakis told Greek radio when asked about the prospect of snap polls.
Senior lawmakers SYRIZA party have said Greece would consider early elections if the government was forced to accept a cash-for-reforms deal which goes against its pledge to end austerity.
Tsipras has been unable to keep party lawmakers and even his own ministers from disagreeing with him publicly, even defying his orders.