SYRIZA: Creditors “intransigent behaviour” not new

This is not the first time that the EU-IMF troika representing Greece’s creditors has shown “intransigent behaviour,” main opposition SYRIZA spokesman Panos Skourletis commented on Tuesday, in statements to the radio station ‘Alpha 989’.

“Of course, I put ‘intransigent’ in quotes in the sense that the troika is acting on the basis of what has been agreed with the government. I would say that they are more like two partners discussing memorandum policy than two sides that disagree,” he added. According to Skourletis, the government had also often used supposed troika “intransigency” to claim that the creditors were forcing its hand and imposing policies it did not want.

“When you have never essentially disputed anything, you are made a hostage of your tactics…the government is now attempting to ‘split’ the troika’s demands into two, to pass the less painful ones with the budget and review and to leave the harsher measures, the more directly memorandum-related and savage ones to a second level and judge what it will do accordingly, since there is also the obstacle of the elections [to overcome],” he said.

Skourletis did not rule out political developments before the election of the new Greek president, saying the government may be pushed into calling early elections. He also noted that the prime minister’s statements concerning Greece’s debts had “enabled” the comments made by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi against a debt restructuring.

He also commented on an investigation underway into the potential role of politician and party leader George Karatzaferis in defence contract kickbacks, saying it would be “naive” to think that the scandals were confined only to former minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

Skourletis also estimated that a single-party majority was a possibility for SYRIZA, saying his gut feeling was reinforced by contact with ordinary voters, and predicted that the government would be unable to pull together the 180 MP votes needed to elect a new president in the current Parliament.