Greek PM Tsipras Has Agreed Austerity Measures – But Will His Own Party and Populace Accept Them?

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has flown home after an epic 17-hour crisis meeting with Eurozone leaders to sell the austerity package he has agreed to his own party – who may attempt to block it.

Tsipras must push several unpalatable measures through Parliament in the next two days, including sales tax increases and pension reforms, to guarantee that talks on a third multi-billion euro bailout for Greece can start in earnest. He faces an uphill battle to persuade members of his own Syriza party, as well as his governing coalition partner, to back the deal he made with creditors after months of insisting he would not accept more austerity measures.

Pro-European Greek opposition parties have promised to back the bailout deal negotiated by Prime Minister Tsipras as the only alternative to being expelled from the shared euro currency.

EurActiv reports the main opposition centre-right New Democracy party is satisfied with the deal. New Democracy MP Kyriakos Mitsotakis, tweeted that Greece had a great chance now to become a normal European country, saying:

“We have 3 years to become a normal European country. I hope we have learnt from the mistakes of the past. Let’s make a new beginning!”

Meanwhile, Greece’s Labour Minister says the country is likely to see another general election this year. Panos Skourletis, a former spokesman for the ruling Syriza party, told state television the government will need “borrowed votes from the opposition” to pass the new austerity measures demanded by creditors.

“I cannot see how we can avoid elections in 2015 … It’s unnatural. We believe in something different than what we’ve been forced to sign with a gun pointed to our head.”

Skourletis said, however, that a quick election could not be held because of the state of Greece’s economy, with its banks still closed.

Greece voted on a referendum last weekend to decide their acceptance or otherwise of the conditions imposed by creditors in Europe and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – a question the ‘No’ camp rejecting the deal won convincingly. That Tsipras has used that vote to embolden him into agreeing even stronger terms of austerity with the European Union may confuse and even anger many Greeks who appear to have thought they were voting for something else entirely.

Societe Generale has put together a timetable of how events should pan out over the coming weeks, tweeted here:

The IMF has said it “stands ready to work with the Greek authorities and the European partners to help move this important effort forward” but not all are positive. The Managing Director of The Economist Intelligence Unit has issued a warning of trouble ahead, predicting that Grexit remains a very real possibility:

Suggesting that Bew may not be wrong, AFP has heard of a Greek civil servants’ strike on Wednesday.

The Associated Press Contributed to This Report


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