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Samaras says Tsipras playing with fire over snap polls

With SYRIZA leading in two new opinion polls on Thursday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras accused the opposition party of risking “blowing everything into the air” by threatening to push for snap elections if it comes out on top in Sunday’s polls.

Speaking in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, Samaras urged voters to back his party on Sunday so he could complete his task as prime minister. “I know that despite the bitterness or disappointment you may feel, deep down in your souls you know that I am giving the last ounce of energy I have to ensure that our country stands on its feet and does not return to the nightmare we experienced,” he told the audience.

Samaras accused SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras of irresponsibility and called on Greeks to reject his “opportunism.” “His little game regarding early elections could blow everything into the air,” said the prime minister.

Tsipras indicated in an interview with Skai TV on Wednesday that a victory of four to six percentage points for his party over the conservatives in the European elections would be considered enough by the opposition to demand snap elections. Two new surveys put SYRIZA ahead but gave it a smaller margin of victory. A Rass poll for Parapolitika.gr put the leftists on 25.3 percent and New Democracy on 22.5 percent. A Pulse survey for To Pontiki newspaper sees SYRIZA gaining 25 percent and the conservatives 22.5 percent.

In a final bid to convince voters about his message, Samaras is due to deliver a speech at a rally in Syntagma Square on Friday night.

It was Tsipras’s turn to address Athenians on Thursday. At a gathering in Omonia Square, he made an appeal to young voters, who predominantly vote for the leftist party, to cast their ballots on Sunday. He also welcomed the support of Greeks who had previously supported other parties.

“Every citizen of this country, regardless of his political past and how he voted until now, is now called to respond to the patriotic and democratic invitation from SYRIZA,” said Tsipras, who promised to restore the minimum wage to 751 euros per month and increase monthly unemployment benefits to 461 euros.

The SYRIZA leader said that Sunday’s election must be seen as a vote on whether the ND-PASOK coalition should remain in power.

“It is a historic referendum, like the one 40 years ago that got rid of the palace [royal family],” he said. “This one will rid us of another corrupt palace, that of the economic and political establishment that led our country to the destructive memorandums.”

Tsipras is due to round off his campaign at a rally in Iraklio, Crete, on Friday evening.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday May 22, 2014 (21:34)  
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