Elections in the fall seen as risk

Elections in the fall seen as risk

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ apparent intention to complete his government’s four-year term in office in October instead of heeding suggestions by his closest aides to hold early elections in May – to coincide with regional, local and European elections – is seen as a high-risk plan that could cause ruling SYRIZA more harm than good. 

Given recent opinion polls, senior government aides are concerned that the leftist party could suffer a heavy defeat in the May 26 European Parliament elections while 11 out of 13 of the country’s regions may be won by main opposition New Democracy in regional elections. 

Furthermore, if the results of the May elections are such that they could pave the way for the formation of a “progressive alliance” that Tsipras is vying for with the centrist Movement for Change (KINAL) and other center-left forces, then internal divisions within SYRIZA could be further exacerbated due to reactions by party purists. 

Moreover, aides fear that by holding national elections in the fall, the political climate could get worse – and not better – for SYRIZA if it is confronted with unforeseen incidents during the summer, such as forest fires. 

On the other hand, proponents of elections in October say the economy could receive a boost during the peak summer tourism season and thus strengthen Tsipras’ narrative that Greece is back to normal after a decade of financial turmoil. 

Meanwhile, New Democracy lashed out at Tsipras on Tuesday after his Antenna TV interview on Monday, saying that he even “lies during a live link.” 

Among a wide range of objections raised by New Democracy spokesperson Sofia Zacharaki to Tsipras’ remarks during the interview was his pledge that the planned reduction of the tax threshold in 2020 will not occur under a SYRIZA government. 

Zacharaki accused Tsipras of deception, saying it was his government that voted for the measure while ND had voted against. 

She also referred to the commitment made by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos to the measure just 10 days ago at the Eurogroup.

“Who then is telling the truth? Tsipras or Tsakalotos?” she asked.

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