Tsipras in Parliament: IMF’s demands unreasonable; review will conclude without capitulation

2 February 2017
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A Parliament debate on Wednesday over bank loans to political parties and mass media quickly deviated into the now burning issue of the delayed second review of the Greek program and growing uncertainty on the economic front.
“Asking for (snap) elections before the review is concluded is either reckless or useful idiocy,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, in opening the debate.

Tsipras, who has seen his popularity and his ruling leftist SYRIZA government’s popularity collapse in mainstream opinion polls over the past few months, criticized his main rival for “swallowing the propaganda of those pressing the country with unreasonable demands … You want elections in order to surrender the country and the people to the hands of the most extremists of creditors,” he charged, in pointing to main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The debate revolved around a recently concluded report by a Parliamentary committee of inquiry into the controversial issue and long-standing issue of banks loans to parties and mass media companies.
In referring to the impasse now facing the Greek program, Tsipras charged that the IMF’s demands are “beyond any democratic and constitutional reasoning and value…” while promising that the review by creditors will “conclude without capitulations on issues of principle.”

While offering little in terms of newsworthiness for Greece watchers outside the country, the debate nevertheless served as a venue for gauging support within Parliament and possibly signalling coming developments.

Mitsotakis, whose center-right ND leads SYRIZA by double-digit margins, at least according to opinion polls, sharply criticized Tsipras, saying populism in the country has exceeded all levels under the current leftist-rightist coalition government. He also charged that the government is merely trying to prevent its collapse by erecting a new client state apparatus.

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