SYRIZA, ND waver over agreement

Having returned from the European Union leaders’ summit in Riga on Friday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to meet with SYRIZA members on Saturday to brief them on the course of negotiations with the country’s lenders.

Tsipras is first due to meet Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis, who heads SYRIZA’s left-wing faction, the Left Platform. He will then attend a gathering of the party’s central committee, which is due to meet Saturday and Sunday. Lafazanis is expected to decide on what stance his faction will take during the wider gathering after he has spoken to Tsipras personally.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, the energy minister insisted that for any deal with creditors to be accepted by SYRIZA it would have to be in line with the pledges the party made before the January 25 elections.

The biggest potential challenge to any agreement from within SYRIZA is likely to come from the Left Platform, which has been working with Greek and foreign economists on a proposal regarding alternative sources of funding for the country.

New Democracy, meanwhile, remains equivocal over whether it will support any deal that comes to Parliament. Speaking from Riga, where he was attending a meeting of the European People’s Party, conservative leader Antonis Samaras suggested that the opposition party might turn its back on the agreement if it leads to tax rises.

“The people who were invoking hope and the country’s salvation are, it seems, about to seriously damage the competitiveness of the Greek economy,” said New Democracy spokesman Costas Karagounis in reference to the government’s plans to increase value-added tax.

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