Samaras in last-ditch appeal to voters

In a last-ditch attempt to rally supporters and attract additional support ahead of Sunday’s critical snap elections, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday underlined the risks of a leftist government coming to power in Greece, stressing that his party would keep the country solvent, on the path of reform and inside the eurozone.

“We are leaving the memorandums… Greece no longer needs loans,” Samaras told a crowd of supporters at a sports stadium in Faliro.

“They will bring us to the point where we need to borrow again,” Samaras said, referring to leftist SYRIZA which is tipped to win the elections on Sunday.

“SYRIZA isn’t going to change Europe but will turn Europe against Greece,” Samaras said and accused leftist leader Alexis Tsipras of “serving the drachma lobby.”

The premier vowed that “the Tsipras accident is not going to happen,” warning that Greece could suffer a crisis similar to that experienced by Cyprus, where the European Central Bank cut off liquidity, if Tsipras comes to power.

Earlier in the day, New Democracy spokesperson Maria Spyraki struck a similar tone, describing Tsipras as “”determined to lead the country to isolation and bankruptcy” and accusing the leftist chief of “defrauding Greeks.”

At his rally, Samaras insisted that ND, which continued to trail SYRIZA in the final opinion polls Friday, was the only party that could steer Greece to economic and political stability. “The key question is this: Who do you want in the driving seat right now?” he said, reiterating pledges to cut property, income and corporate taxes if ND is re-elected.

The premier also slammed SYRIZA for its position on the ECB’s bond-buying program, indicating that the leftists’ resistance to resuming talks with Greece’s troika of international creditors essentially would block the country from the program. “It’s raining money, and they’re ordering umbrellas,” Samaras quipped.

The last round of opinion polls Friday pointed to SYRIZA maintaining a strong lead over the conservatives though it remained unclear whether the leftists would be able to secure an absolute majority and avoid talks with coalition allies. In any case, Samaras is almost certain to face upheaval within his party, with speculation about a leadership challenge intensifying Friday.