Tsipras sets out SYRIZA?s plan for governing

Socialist PASOK and Democratic Left slam rising leftist's economic policy proposals

Outlining his party?s economic program on Friday, leftist leader Alexis Tsipras said that a SYRIZA-led government would reject the terms of Greece?s bailout, repeal some of the measures that have been passed and increase public spending, but his proposals were criticized by potential coalition partners.

?Greeks only have one real choice: the [European Union-International Monetary Fund] memorandum or SYRIZA,? Tsipras told a packed room of party supporters. He insisted that plans for renegotiating the loan deal with Greece?s lenders, as has been suggested by New Democracy and PASOK, are dead in the water.

Tsipras said a SYRIZA government would immediately reject the memorandum on coming to power and ask for Greece?s debt to be restructured or for a moratorium on repayments. It would then repeal a reduction to the minimum wage and extend unemployment benefit to two years. It would also repeal recent labor market reforms limiting collective contracts.

Tsipras set out how his government would stabilize the economy. He said public spending would be set at between 43 and 46 percent of GDP, rather than under 36 percent as agreed in the memorandum. The SYRIZA leader said he would raise revenues by cutting down on tax evasion, waste and corruption and forming an assets register for all Greeks at home and abroad. The wealthy would pay more under a new tax system, he said.

His plans were described as ?catastrophic? by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos. ?This will lead society to division and Greece out of Europe,? he added. Venizelos suggested that if SYRIZA sticks to these positions, it would be difficult for PASOK to join them in a coalition.

Venizelos said Greece could not take it for granted that its eurozone partners would continue to provide loans if a new government rejects the existing bailout terms.

A Public Issue survey published yesterday showed SYRIZA leading on 31.5 percent with New Democracy trailing in second on 25.5 percent. This would not give the leftists a clear majority and they might need to work with PASOK or Democratic Left.

However, Democratic Left also expressed skepticism about SYRIZA?s plans, saying it contained ?major contradictions.? ?SYRIZA wants to unilaterally reject the memorandum and then proposes holding talks with the EU,? the party said in a statement. ?In other words, they are proposing breaking off relations and then negotiating.? The party accused SYRIZA of ?opening the door to the drachma.?