ATHENS – Major Opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said the only way the government can elect its man for President is to get defectors from other parties.
He accused the coalition government of Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras and its partner the PASOK Socialists of raising the prospect of “apostasies” over the election of the country’s symbolic President in February, 2015.
The ruling parties have only 155 votes in the 300-member Parliament but need 180 to elect a President or national elections scheduled for 2016 will be called amid polls that show SYRIZA, which opposes austerity measures ordered by international lenders that Samaras is imposing, leading and likely to win.
“Let us suppose that in this climate of terror and blackmail, from this political stench, Mr. [Prime Minister Antonis] Samaras manages to get the 180 votes for president,” Tsipras told Skai TV.
“What then? He will then have to implement a program that is broadly and deeply opposed by the majority of the Greek people. If 180 do vote, then that means there will be apostasies,” said Tsipras, reiterating that for the government, with a majority of 155 seats, to gather 180 votes of support it will mean that at least 25 MPs will have to go against their party line.
The opposition chief also called on Samaras to schedule early elections, saying that it is the “only honorable thing to do.”
He said a tough stance being taken by the Troika in insisting on more tough reforms before Samaras can seek an early exit from the terms of 240 billion euros ($306 billion) in two bailouts is being done to get as much as possible out of the government before SYRIZA takes power.
Tspiras has said he would seek to revise the terms of the two rescue packages or walk away from what it owed, essentially leaving the country broke and likely unable to borrow from the markets, with no plan to financially govern.
He said the Troika is “trying to get what they can” before they “start negotiations with the next government, which they know will be SYRIZA.”
“They see that the political time of this government is running out so they are trying to wipe the table clean,” the 40-year-old leftist said. “They are trying to get what they can now.”
He also blasted Germany, the biggest contributor to the bailouts but which demanded austerity in return, saying that, “There are no tenants and owners in the EU. We are not tenants in the EU and there is no such thing as countries with more rights than others.”