ATHENS – A day after he said the Greek economy was protected by European banking regulations, Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras said there could be trouble if a new President isn’t elected.
Stournaras, who was the Finance Minister for Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, warned of the risk of “irreparable damage to the Greek economy,” from political uncertainty over the Presidential election and resulting reduction of liquidity in the market.
Samaras had accused the rival major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) of trying to block the Parliamentary election of his man and party’s Vice-President Stavros Dimas in a bid to force early national elections. SYRIZA is opposed to the harsh austerity measures Samaras opposed on orders of international lenders, a stance that is making investors and banks nervous and led the Premier to pull out the big guns of support of EU leaders ganging up against the Leftists.
Speaking at an event in Athens, Stournaras said that Greece could be used as “a scapegoat” or an “Iphigenia to be made an example of to other member states of the Eurozone periphery.”
He called on lawmakers to give careful consideration to the Presidential vote and on the country’s political parties to cooperate for the good of the nation “as the crisis of recent days is growing to a serious magnitude.” Without naming any political parties his inference was that the MPs should back Dimas.
Samaras needs 200 votes in the 300-member Parliament in the first round of voting on Dec. 17 and a second on Dec. 22 if needed to get Dimas seated. If that doesn’t work a third and final round would be held on Dec. 29, requiring 180 votes but his coalition government, which includes the PASOK Socialists, has only 155 and he’s trying to convince Independents and rival party MPs to go along with him.