Tsipras has eye on national elections

The presidential elections may not have started yet but that did not prevent SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras from fully turning his attention to the prospect of snap national polls on Tuesday.

Speaking at a tourism industry event in Athens, Tsipras issued a rallying call to voters to give his party “a big, unquestionable, fighting majority that will allow us to implement our program and confront the major obstacles.”

The government needs 200 votes to elect a new president in the first two ballots, due to be held on December 17 and 23, and 180 in the final vote on December 29.

Tsipras rejected attempts to disassociate the presidential ballot from other political and economic issues, saying that the three votes that will likely be held in Parliament to elect a successor to President Karolos Papoulias will also be a vote on whether MPs are willing to accept the latest round of measures demanded by the troika.

“[Prime Minister Antonis] Samaras is having to ask for 180, not 150, MPs to approve the prior action – that is essentially what the three successive votes in Parliament will entail,” said the SYRIZA leader, who also dismissed the negative market reaction to renewed political uncertainty in Greece.

“Terrorism will not work: 2014 is not 2012,” he said in reference to the two national elections two years ago, when SYRIZA was pipped by New Democracy on the back of fears that the leftists would compromise Greece’s position in the eurozone.

Also considering its position ahead of possible snap elections, Democratic Left (DIMAR) is due to hold a meeting of its parliamentary group and executive secretariat on Wednesday amid calls from within the party for a stronger alliance with SYRIZA. Some party members want DIMAR leader Fotis Kouvelis to disband the grouping so they can join SYRIZA if parliamentary elections are held on January 25 or February 1.