NEWS

Ex-president says elections a big risk

In an article in Sunday?s Kathimerini, former President Costis Stephanopoulos appealed to all political parties in Greece?s coalition government to stop focusing on the idea of early elections and concentrate instead on implementing economic reforms, noting that snap polls would ?harm the country.?

?The country does not need elections but a capable government which will work hard to save it from the dangers it faces,? Stephanopoulos wrote, adding

?We need stability, not the upheaval of elections.?

The 75-year-old former president, who had spoken out against the foot-dragging that followed the collapse of the Socialist PASOK administration last month, expressed his faith in the current coalition government, chiefly due to the premiership of former European Central Bank Vice President Lucas Papademos. The former technocrat has the ?ability, influence and international contacts? to succeed, Stephanopoulos wrote.

The former president appealed to parties to ?stop seeking elections? and to ?give [Papademos] enough time? to create political and economic stability. To date, he noted, ?no parties have set as the ultimate goal promoting the country?s interests over those of the party.?

Stephanopoulos disputed the arguments put forward by conservative New Democracy — the second party in the tripartite coalition — and by left-wing parties, namely that early elections would diffuse social tensions. He added that ?the restraint shown by employees and pensioners who have been the key targets of tax increases is worthy of admiration and praise.?