NEWS

PM warns failure of talks with lenders could spark snap polls

TAGS: Politics, Economy

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday sought to rally SYRIZA MPs, saying that the government is committed to completing a current bailout review but will not yield to “irrational demands” and warning that the failure of talks could spark snap elections.

In a speech to SYRIZA’s parliamentary group, Tsipras called on MPs to “mobilize,” encouraging them to listen to the complaints of their austerity-weary constituents but also to defend the government’s policy choices.

Comparing his government’s efforts to the crossing of a river, Tsipras said, “We are in the middle, we will swim and get out at the other bank.”

As regards negotiations with Greece’s creditors, Tsipras expressed optimism that they would be completed soon.

“It is realistic but also entirely necessary for the negotiations to finish soon,” he said, reiterating that the December 5 Eurogroup remained the date on which eurozone officials are to specify debt relief measures.

He said his government has the “political will” to conclude the bailout review. “But this does not mean that we could even enter discussions on irrational demands.”

Tsipras accused the leader of the main conservative opposition New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, of trying to push Greece into a fourth bailout and said the possible collapse of negotiations that are currently under way could spark snap elections.

Mitsotakis, for his part, told his MPs that political change was necessary as the future of the country is at risk under the current government. He expressed fears that the bailout review might not be completed by December 5.

In a related development, it emerged that a meeting of finance ministers of core eurozone countries that had been due to take place in Berlin on Friday in a bid to determine what concessions might be offered to get the International Monetary Fund to join Greece’s third bailout had been canceled.

According to sources, the meeting was called off by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who was annoyed that details about the meeting had leaked to the media.

Separately on Wednesday, Tsipras spoke to US President-elect Donald Trump by telephone, congratulated him on his victory and stressed the crucial role of Greece in an increasingly unstable region.

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