Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday dismissed claims that he is preparing for snap elections as “nonsense” as he urged Greece’s lenders to show more flexibility or risk further instability in Europe.
Speaking on the second day of his trip to Crete, which some have likened to an election campaign visit, Tsipras insisted that he has no thoughts of going to the polls early. “Elections will happen on time, in other words in September 2019,” he said, adding that this would be after his government leads Greece out of the crisis.
For this to happen, though, his government has to conclude the second review with the institutions. Tsipras suggested on Wednesday that it is also in the creditors’ interests to reach an agreement.
“Europe is facing huge uncertainty – just take a look at what is happening everywhere,” he said. “To keep the potential of one of the eurozone countries tied down is like shooting yourself in the foot. Whatever extremists have not understood this should do so. European leaders need to understand how crucial the situation is. I am sure they will.”
Tsipras also suggested that he is not concerned by the reaction within Europe to his pension pledges. The extra 617 million euros being redistributed by the government is due to be paid out to some 1.6 million pensioners on Thursday.
Meanwhile, New Democracy challenged the coalition’s claims that it is helping out low-income pensioners. The conservatives pointed to a 50 percent drop in the EKAS supplement for this group of retirees that would reduce their income by around a third.