Tsipras faces Syriza revolt against prospective deal with creditors

Tsipras faces Syriza revolt against prospective deal with creditors

Athens, May 20, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Zacharias Petrou

A deal between Greece and its creditors over the current bailout program is apparently closer to being agreed than ever before. However, attention gradually now shifts to whether or not a potential agreement will be ratified by coalition government MPs in parliament.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has already begun talking to top party officials since last weekend. Reservations about a deal that will involve backing down from pre-election pledges have been publicly expressed by ministers and MPs such as Panagiotis Lafazanis, Zoe Konstantopoulou and Panos Skourletis, to name a few.

SYRIZA’s political secretariat is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the prospective deal. On Tuesday Alexis Tsipras met with the heads of SYRIZA’s parliamentary group. In an effort to appease fears that he is about to sign a new bailout memorandum, Tsipras assured them he will not accept wage or pension cuts. However, it is more than certain that compromises will be made; some of which will be painful for Syriza.

Leaders of the Syriza hard-left (including members of Syriza’s political bureau and Central Committee led by Yannis Milios) have called for a “rupture” with creditors in a public challenge to Alexis Tsipras. Meanwhile, the party’s Left Platform (led by Energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis), said any deal agreed with creditors must be compatible with the party’s program.

Sources suggest that if Tsipras sees that he cannot get the necessary support for a deal from his own party, he may consider putting the agreement to a referendum. At the moment, the same sources suggest this may be preferable than the humiliating prospect of the agreement being ratified with the votes of opposition parties; not that their votes should be considered certain.

New Democracy has not made clear officially whether it will support or oppose any deal until its content is known. Former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is not prepared to explicitly support “just any deal”, especially if it includes tax hikes and measures generally considered to be hindering growth.

“We stress again that the delay in reaching an agreement has a major cost for the country and its people,” the party said in a statement after a political council on Tuesday discussed the issue. “New Democracy cannot express an opinion on a non-existent agreement. It is clear that ND supports policies that promote growth, boost productivity and create jobs” the announcement adds.

However, it is clear that many New Democracy Mps, such as Dora Bakoyannis and Kyriacos Mitsotakis, are more open to voting in favor of an agreement that will see the country steer clear of default.