ATHENS – If international lenders give cash-strapped Greece an ultimatum over unfinished reforms the government will take its case to the public, Radical Left SYRIZA Parliamentary spokesman Nikos Filis warned.
Party leader and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been ordered by the troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) to impose more of the austerity measures he rejected ahead of the Jan. 25 snap elections and is holding back a 7.2-billion euro installment until he does.
Tsipiras said he will not cross self-designation “red lines,” such as further cuts in pensions or keeping a ban on collective bargaining even as the country is going broke.
EU officials said there isn’t enough time to organize and hold a referendum in which voters could decide whether they support the government’s tough line.
But Filis said the government, which includes the largely silent Independent Greeks (ANEL) would go ahead with the “take it or leave it” vote if pushed.
“Negotiations are entering a crucial few days,” Filis told Skai TV on May 18. He said he is certain that if the government reaches an agreement with the institutions, it will be accepted by coalition MPs, although that could include reneging on campaign promises.
However, he said that if Athens is given an ultimatum, then “the people will be called on to give an answer.”