As the government announced Saturday that European Parliament elections will be held on the same day as the second round of Greece’s local elections, leftist opposition SYRIZA sought to up the ante ahead of the polls.
During a meeting of SYRIZA’s central committee on Saturday, party leader Alexis Tsipras appeared confident of victory in the late May ballots which he described as “a referendum against the government of the memorandum.”
Tsipras, who has called for a snap vote several times in the past few months, said that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s repeated assurances that election will take place after the government has completed its four-year term in 2016 cannot disguise his unease about the conservative party’s decline.
“His fear cannot be disguised. And this fear – which is the fear of the vested interests that he represents – dictates spasmodic reactions, spasmodic policies, spasmodic tactics, spasmodic propaganda,” Tsipras said.
His attack prompted a reaction from government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, who slammed the opposition’s “insults and slander.” PASOK, the junior coalition partner, also accused Tsipras of “demagoguery.” In a statement, the Socialist party said Tsipras has tied his political fate “to the existence and perpetuation of the memorandum. Without it, he has nothing to say,” it said.
Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis said he would table an amendment so that European elections would be held on the same day as local ones on May 25. Speaking to To Vima on Sunday, Michelakis said the decision, which has been opposed by SYRIZA, was made to avoid confusion on the first round of local elections, when voters use two separate ballot boxes to pick their municipal and regional candidates.
Meanwhile, SYRIZA on Friday announced MP Rena Dourou’s candidacy for Attica governor. Gavriil Sakellaridis, a 34-year-old economist and PhD candidate at the University of Athens, will run for Athens mayor.
Meanwhile, speculation continued in ND as several names have been floated around for Greece’s main municipality, including Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni and MP Fotini Pipili. Reports described Kefaloyianni as reluctant.