ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has a tough audience to convince as he says he’s closing on a deal with international lenders: his own party.
The Radical Left SYRIZA leader is trying to quell dissent among the more extreme elements in the disparate party who want him not to back down at all in negotiations with the troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB.
While Tsipras said he won’t relent on his promises to reverse austerity, reports have emerged that he is because the country is fast going broke and can’t survive with more aid from the troika, which is holding back a 7.2-billion euro installment until he implements more tough reforms.
Tsipras led two lengthy cabinet meetings last week, where some of his ministers were relucant to make any deal on pensions and labor laws.
But the Premier was said to believe he can bring around the doubters, especially after his most vociferous critic, Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis – who defied Tsipras and refused to go along with privatizations – was mostly silent in the meetings.
If Tsipras sees that he cannot get the necessary support for a deal from his own party, he may consider putting the agreement to a referendum although SYRIZA officials have disputed that.