Skourletis rules out early elections


With bailout negotiations at a standstill, Interior Minister Panos Skourletis has dismissed speculation that early elections or a referendum are on the cards.

The government, he said on Friday, is fully focused on concluding the second review of the country’s third bailout and insisted that Greece is within the targets set.

“2016 had positive results for the first time in many years,” he said, adding that all the preconditions are in place to spur growth in the country in 2017.

“So there is no reason the review will not be concluded,” he said.

Greece wants to wrap up the review by Monday’ Eurogroup but EU officials say they expect the Greek government to make specific steps towards reaching a consensus with lenders.

However, a high-ranking European official on Thursday ruled out any chance that the review will be concluded by Monday’s Eurogroup.

The official said that at best, and if the leftist-led coalition accepts creditors’ proposals, eurozone ministers will green-light the return of technical experts to Athens to continue negotiations.

Inconclusive talks over debt relief and reforms have prevented a conclusion of the review, raising concerns over the Greek bailout program altogether.