In his last campaign speech before Sunday's European Parliament and local elections, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras admitted on Friday that a SYRIZA victory might bring the government down but implored voters to back New Democracy and ensure Greece does not “turn back.”
Samaras addressed a relatively small crowd in Syntagma Square in his only open-air address of the campaign and focused on the threat to Greece that a SYRIZA win might pose, given that the leftist party has indicated it will demand snap elections if it wins the European vote.
“Only an accident can take Greece back again and SYRIZA is the accident that must not happen,” said the premier.
“They want to bring down the government, now that we are due to agree on further debt relief at the end of the summer,” said Samaras in reference to discussions between his government and eurozone officials regarding how to reduce Greece’s public debt pile.
“Do you want there to be early elections, instability and uncertainty?” he added. “You must decide.”
Samaras repeated his pledge that Greece would not sign a new memorandum of understanding with its creditors and that the government would not implement any new austerity measures.
“For two years, I have been tearing up the memorandums, month by month, page by page,” he told the crowd. “That is how we got to be in the position where we do not need any more memorandums.”
New Democracy trailed SYRIZA in four opinion polls published on Friday and received a further blow when one of its former ministers, Thanasis Giannopoulos, said he was quitting the party. “I cannot be considered a political devotee of this New Democracy, of Samaras and his gang,” said the ex-minister, who added that he expects developments on the center-right of the Greek political spectrum to follow Sunday’s elections.
“Who will be the person that leads the large center-right party? It will be someone, but it will not be Antonis Samaras,” added Giannopoulos.
In contrast, journalist Stavros Theodorakis, who leads his recently formed Potami into Sunday’s vote, said that he is prepared to cooperate with Samaras, as well as SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras in the future. “I am ready to work with Samaras and Tsipras based on a plan for the country,” he told Real FM.