Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos appeared to rule out on Monday the possibility of early elections and attacked SYRIZA for calling for the country to go the polls in the wake of the Golden Dawn arrests over the weekend.
Speaking from New York, where he had been attending the UN general assembly in his capacity as foreign minister, Venizelos accused the leftists of “hiding behind” events involving Golden Dawn and using it as an opportunity to push for elections.
Venizelos was confident that the Golden Dawn MPs who had not been arrested would not resign, thereby requiring a decision to be taken on whether by-elections or a national poll would be needed.
“There is no way the Golden Dawn deputies will resign,” said the PASOK leader. “They are not in position to do anything.”
Venizelos said the government would examine what options the constitution provides in the eventuality of Golden Dawn MPs quitting or being convicted.
“We are fully aware of the problems and we are ready to deal with them within the framework of the constitution,” he said. “We must not rush, though, or let the actions of the neoNazis dictate what we are going to do.”
Speaking on Sunday, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said that elections should not be seen as a “curse but a blessing”.
“We are not the ones who are in a hurry to govern, it’s Greece that cannot put up any longer with those who are leading it to disaster,” said Tsipras.
The SYRIZA leader also accused Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of being afraid of facing the Greek people and using Golden Dawn’s threats regarding a mass resignation of MPs as an excuse to avoid elections
“They want us to leave them alone so that the can sign the third bailout that the agreed with Greece’s lenders,” said Tsipras.