SYRIZA suggests holding back on debt repayments

As the campaign for the January 25 elections gets under way, the government has accused SYRIZA of risking a Greek default after several opposition party officials suggested that a leftist administration might stop paying the country’s loan obligations if its lenders do not provide debt relief.

“This is the most official program guaranteeing poverty that the Greek people have ever heard in an election campaign,” said Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday. He argued that a refusal to repay loans or interest would lead to a default.

Earlier, three SYRIZA MPs (Yiannis Milios, Giorgos Balafas and Yiannis Tolios) had suggested in separate TV appearances that the leftist party would consider not meeting debt repayments if they could not reach an agreement with the eurozone.

“New Democracy and PASOK have decided to pay up,” said Milios, one of SYRIZA’s key economic policy figures. “We are saying that we might not pay. We might not pay because we will negotiate and say that this [bailout] program is not sustainable.”

“Mr Tolios and Mr Milios have revealed what SYRIZA has hidden so far, which is the binding decision of the party conference to stop paying principal and interest,” said State Minister Dimitris Stamatis. “This would immediately lead our country into default and cause its exit from the euro.”