SYRIZA may not propose presidential candidate, spokesman says

SYRIZA spokesman Panos Skourletis on Tuesday indicated that the leftist opposition might not propose a candidate for Greek president when Karolos Papoulias’s term expires in February instead of blocking the coalition government’s suggested candidate as the party has suggested it will do over the past few months.

In comments to Skai, Skourletis said his personal opinion was that “SYRIZA should not propose a candidate.” The reasoning behind his stance – which is distinct from the one propounded by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, that the leftists will not back the government’s candidate – is that any successor to Papoulias elected by the current Parliament would end up backing the terms of Greece’s economic reform program.

“The government wants to forge a majority of 180 MPs so it can get the green light to continue its disastrous policies,” Skourletis said, referring to the enhanced majority the government must secure in the 300-seat House for its presidential candidate to be approved. Although the Greek Constitution calls for a broader political consensus than usual in the case of appointing a president, Skourletis said he believed such consensus should “emerge from a new, renewed Parliament with a fresh mandate,” referring clearly to snap elections that the leftists have long been calling for.