Tsipras unveils coalition’s first bills, due next week

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras set out on Friday his government’s immediate legislative plans, while at the same time insisting he would continue to pursue debt relief and refuse to sign a third bailout for Greece.

“Some have bet on a third bailout, on the possibility of a third bailout in June. I’m very sorry but once again we will disappoint them,” he said in a televised speech to his cabinet.

“Let them forget a third bailout. The Greek people put an end to bailouts with their vote,” added the prime minister, who said his government would continue to press for Greece’s next agreement with its lenders to include debt reduction measures.

However, the bulk of Tsipras’s speech was focused on outlining what legislation his government plans to bring to Parliament next week. The prime minister said that the first bill would introduce measures aimed at tackling the “humanitarian crisis,” including the provision of free electricity to 300,000 households living under the poverty threshold.

“Our first task is to assist a society that has been suffering for the past five years,” said Tsipras.

The second bill relates to the introduction of a new payment plan for overdue taxes and social security contributions. The scheme is set to allow applicants to pay in up to 100 installments and will mean that anyone owing up to 50,000 euros cannot be arrested over their debts.

The third draft law will protect primary residences with a taxable value of up to 300,000 euros from foreclosures. Finally, the government also intends to introduce legislation next week that would pave the way for public broadcaster ERT, shut down in June 2013, to be reopened. Tsipras stressed that this would not burden the public budget.

A Metron Analysis poll to be published in today’s Parapolitika newspaper showed that more than two in three Greeks were satisfied with the way the government was negotiating with EU partners while 76 percent were positive about the government’s overall performance so far. It also put support for SYRIZA on 47.6 percent, compared to almost 36 percent that the leftists won in the June 25 elections. New Democracy was second with 20.7 percent.