Crisis: Greece already in full electoral campaign mode

Ahead of an increasingly likely early national vote

30 September, 13:59

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, SEPTEMBER 30 - The presence of the troika (IMF, EU and ECB) in Athens is proof that Greece is not a not a normal country just yet. Important steps have been taken in this direction but the demands of the representatives of international creditors are difficult to satisfy as they could lead to an accident down the road to recovery which could compromise much of what has been done so far with great difficulty.

    The coalition government led by Antonis Samaras is perfectly aware of the fact that there is no majority in Parliament willing to approve new austerity measures and is working to get rid of the troika and IMF, dissolving over a year earlier than scheduled the agreement and giving up on the last installment worth 10 billuon euros originally scheduled for 2015.

    In other words, Greece is now ready to hit international financial markets and leave the crisis behind. It is still to be seen whether the political system will be able to carry out the operation successfully given that, two years before the end of the legislature, the country is already in the midst of an electoral campaign: the failure to elect a new president of the Republic (the mandate of Karolos Papulias expires on February 12) could in fact lead to early elections.

    The two parties supporting the government - the center-right Nea Dimokratia (Nd) and Socialist Pasok - must deal with ''rebels'' in their midst who have opposed policies so far and threaten they will not vote more measures hitting incomes and pensions, while some in the majority are threatening not to vote for the president in order to force the government to change policies.

    Premier Samaras, the leader of Nd, has sought to mobilize old and new leaders and militants from the party with a harsh attack on Syriza and its leader Alexis Tsipras (without ever naming him) and announcing a number of tax cuts. Among them are tax cuts for firms and independent professionals - to 20% from 26% - a reduction on luxury car taxes by 30% and another 30% cut next year in the solidarity tax imposed with the crisis.

    Local media believe the proposals are only a prelude to early elections.

    Pasok on the other hand, the party that governed Greece for over 20 years, is dealing with internal rifts over complaints from deputies and recriminations by others.

    Radical left party Syriza, which obtained the relative majority in Greece according in a European vote in June, is gearing up for a big campaign to explain to the people, according to a statement, the ''need for a radical change'' and an ''alternative policy''.

    The campaign will develop around two fronts: in Parliament with the presentation of a number of legislative initiatives to cut taxes for social classes most affected by the crisis, and in the country with a number of regional conferences on Syriza's government program.

    Along with these initiatives - aimed at ''toppling the dangerous government of Samaras and his policies'' -Tsipras' international campaign will be aimed at forging alliances against austerity policies so far pursued by the EU and cultivating his new profile as a staunch pro-European leader.

    (ANSAmed)
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