NEWS

PM says leftists causing ‘terror’ for investors, forcing polls

Following another troubling day on the markets, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras accused SYRIZA on Wednesday of provoking “terror” among investors and insisted that Greeks do not want early elections, which will prompt voters to punish the leftist party if it forces snap polls to be held.

“We do not have to say anything; the terror they cause speaks for itself,” Samaras said during a speech at a trade conference in Athens after the local bourse shed another percentage point on Wednesday following a much bigger drop on Tuesday.

“They are trying to interrupt the country’s progress with the threat of early elections, using the presidential election as their vehicle and thereby going against the Constitution’s spirit,” he said. “Some people have been creating concern abroad about political instability and uncertainty.”

Samaras insisted that the majority of Greeks want a president to be elected by Parliament and do not want snap elections.

“Citizens do not want elections and markets do not want elections,” he said.

Samaras and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras will cross swords one final time ahead of the first ballot on December 17, when they are both due to speak in Parliament a day earlier.

Speaking at a meeting of SYRIZA’s political secretariat, Tsipras expressed certainty that the government’s candidate for president, Stavros Dimas, would not be elected in any of the three upcoming ballots. Dimas needs to attract 200 or more votes in the first two rounds and 180 in the final ballot to be elected.

Sources told Kathimerini on Wednesday that the government hopes that in the first round of voting it will improve on its 155 seats and that there will be enough blank votes or abstentions to suggest that a victory in the final ballot on December 29 will be possible.

In Brussels, a European Commission spokeswoman welcomed the choice of Dimas as Greece’s presidential candidate.

“The selection of Stavros Dimas sends a strong message to Europe as he is a former commissioner and a committed European,” said Annika Breidthardt.