After reshuffle, focus shifts to bid to elect TV watchdog board

After reshuffle, focus shifts to bid to elect TV watchdog board

Newly appointed government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos on Tuesday dismissed talk of Greece having to sign a fourth bailout as a New Democracy ploy.

At the same time, conservative leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis appealed to SYRIZA voters on Crete to abandon the party and throw their weight behind the main opposition.

At his first scheduled press conference since being made spokesman in Friday’s reshuffle, Tzanakopoulos insisted there was no question of Athens having to sign a new loan agreement, including a commitment to implement more measures, so the International Monetary Fund would agree to join the Greek bailout program.

“A new relationship with any of our partners is not on the agenda now,” he told journalists, adding that talk of a fourth memorandum of understanding was being pushed by New Democracy.

“They want the government’s effort to secure debt relief to fail so they have an excuse to impose a harsh austerity program in return for debt relief,” added Tzanakopoulos.

Speaking in Rethymno, Crete, Mitsotakis called on disgruntled voters, including those who backed SYRIZA in previous elections, to support New Democracy.

“I ask you not to wallow in your disappointment and frustration,” he said.

“The way you voted in previous years is irrelevant. The situation that our country finds itself in means that we all have to go beyond ourselves. I don’t want yesterday to divide us, I want tomorrow to unite us.”

Mitsotakis also appeared to take a tough stance on Thursday's meeting of party representatives for their latest attempt to elect a board at the National Council for Radio and Television (ESR).

He said the candidates put forward would have to guarantee the “independent, trustworthy, impartial and technocratic” functioning of the broadcasting watchdog.

The opposition leader also insisted that Digital Policy and Media Minister Nikos Pappas would have to abandon his “dogmatic obsession” that only four TV licenses should be issued.

Government sources indicated the coalition is confident it will be able to gain the support of PASOK and To Potami for the ESR board hopefuls, leaving New Democracy isolated if it rejects them.

Pappas said that the government will not attempt to legislate a new licensing system until “all possibilities for reaching consensus on ESR have been exhausted.”

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