Government in revival exercise

Having secured a fresh confidence vote, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras now faces the challenge of further bolstering the fragile coalition amid growing political tensions, with government officials expected to press creditors to approve a plan for Greece’s gradual disengagement from the memorandum.

A Greek delegation is due on Sunday to meet with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, to present Greece’s case for an early exit from the IMF arm of the bailout despite Lagarde’s insistence on “precautionary support” being maintained. The delegation comprised Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis, Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras and Stavros Papastavrou, a close aide to Samaras.

The possibility of a credit line for Greece being maintained is open for discussion, as Samaras indicated in his speech to Parliament before the confidence vote.

The premier plans to request an early exit from the IMF arm of the bailout in a letter to Lagarde after the results of European Central Bank stress tests on Greek lenders on October 26, Kathimerini understands.

European officials are also wary about Greece going it alone. One official in Brussels described Greece as “a patient who was smoking three packets of cigarettes a day, two bottles of whisky and eight hot dogs… and is now jogging.”

Although Greece is not on the agenda, it is likely to be discussed at a Eurogroup summit in Luxembourg tomorrow. Meanwhile Samaras faces an increasingly tense political climate. Although he won the confidence vote, with 155 votes to 131, gaining a super-majority of 180 MPs to approve the coalition’s candidate for president will be tough. Further, polls show leftist SYRIZA widening its lead over New Democracy. Sources say that Samaras, who must appoint a new defense minister as Dimitris Avramopoulos assumes the European Commission’s immigration portfolio, may conduct a mini reshuffle soon.

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