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Tsipras rebuffs attacks from ND and PASOK

The head of leftist SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, who is hoping to lead his party to first place in the June 17 elections, accused his two main rivals, PASOK and New Democracy, on Sunday of scaremongering about Greece’s future in the euro.

ND leader Antonis Samaras attacked SYRIZA in a speech on Saturday, while PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos also had harsh words for the leftists in a televised press conference on Sunday. Samaras said SYRIZA’s intention to repudiate Greece’s loan agreement, or memorandum, with the European Union and International Monetary Fund would lead the country out of the euro.

“A return to the drachma would lead to incomes, savings and assets being halved, while debt would grow,” Samaras told party members at an ND national congress in Athens. “Tsipras will bring a worse memorandum that will serve the drachma lobby, which will be able to buy up the country on the cheap.”

Samaras’s comments were echoed by Venizelos who said that an outright rejection of the loan terms would be “catastrophic.” “This would strengthen extremists, while making life easier for the drachma group, which is investing in the prospect of buying Greece up cheaply.”

Venizelos said Greece should aim to extend its fiscal adjustment period from 2014 to 2017.

To Vima newspaper suggested that ex-Prime Minister Lucas Papademos warned party leaders that Greece will run out of money in the next few weeks. The state of public finances was set out in a letter to President Karolos Papoulias shared with party leaders during their failed talks to form a government after the May 6 elections.

Papademos indicated that Greece would run out of money by June 20 and would be reliant on funding from the eurozone and the IMF.

This prompted Tsipras to accuse “domestic political forces” of “blackmail, threats and lies.” Instead, he pointed to comments by the head of the Institute of International Finance, Charles Dallara, who estimated that the cost of a Greek exit could exceed 1 trillion dollars. “Just as the head of the IIF, economists and European Commission officials underline the need to stop talk of Greece leaving the euro… the domestic Taliban of the memorandum continue to terrorize the people so they abide by the plans of the IMF and [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel,” said Tsipras.

Four polls published on Sunday showed SYRIZA narrowly trailing New Democracy.

ekathimerini.com , Sunday May 27, 2012 (22:48)  
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