NEWS

Early elections not an option for PM

Prime Minister George Papandreou is not even contemplating the possibility of his government serving less than a full four-year term, a high-ranking minister told Kathimerini on Monday, after more speculation that the premier will call early elections.

The Financial Times newspaper suggested that PASOK would not be able to survive until September 2013 but this prompted a denial from the government. ?Papandreou is not thinking of even taking one step back from the obligations that he has undertaken and is not thinking about early elections,? a minister, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Kathimerini.

The speculation about snap elections is driven by concerns that the government is beginning to flag under the pressure of meeting the public finance targets it has been set by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, and that a fresh mandate would help douse the growing opposition to some of the measures it is adopting.

Government sources, however, suggest that the risk of calling general elections is too high because it would project an image of Greece being unstable and this would have a negative effect on the international markets and on the other members of the eurozone, which lent money to Greece as part of its 110-billion-euro rescue package.

Meanwhile, Giorgos Karatzaferis, the leader of the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) – Parliament?s fourth largest party – refused to rule out cooperating with New Democracy at the next elections. He said LAOS?s stance would ?depend on the circumstances.?