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Concerns about Greek snap election

Most EU member states comment on Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’ decision to call for snap election on September 20th. Several media report that the European Commission and its President Jean-Claude Juncker were not surprised by the announcement. A source close to Mr Juncker confirmed to Star TV that Mr Juncker and Mr Tsipras spoke about the early elections before the Eurogroup of August 14th. “Reforms have been decided by the Greek government and voted on by the parliament,” EC spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt has stated, adding that reforms can be implemented whether Alexis Tsipras wins or loses, several EU media quote her as saying.

Spokesman for the German Government Steffen Seibert, quoted in Handelsblatt, reminds the Greek government that the agreements made for the third aid programme will still be binding for the new government. According to Kathimerini, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that these snap elections are part of the solution for Greece. Nevertheless, in an interview with Athina, Head of the EC Representation in Greece Panos Carvounis notably claimed that the forthcoming snap election is an internal issue, not a European one.

According to a Bild election poll, Syriza is not likely to achieve an absolute majority. The figures suggest that the party will receive roughly 28% of votes. The second-strongest party is the conservative Nea Dimokratia, with 25%. The newly founded left-wing party Popular Unity is supported by 8% of voters.

Some op-ed articles comment on Alexis Tsipras’ decision. Äripäev, Dziennik Gazeta and Handelsblatt write that the election will enable the PM to consolidate his power. European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Managing Director Klaus Regling, in an interview with Bild stated that after the election, Tsipras will probably have a more stable majority in Parliament. In an opinion piece in Libération, sociologist Albert Ogien writes that the central question of the upcoming Greek election is “to find out whether an alternative political approach can be applied in a practical way.”

Laurent Joffrin explains in Les Echos that until now, Alexis Tsipras was presented as an anti-austerity hero. But since he jettisoned his original election promises, he has forced his former fans to make a choice: supporting him now is akin to accepting financial rigour; to reject him is to plead for a different Europe, it is more or less to become officially anti-European. Despite the fact that Alexis Tsipras broke his promises and did not oppose austerity measures.

Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof writes in Profil that if he were Greek, he would vote for Mr Tsipras again as he considers the harsh bailout conditions are still preferable to a Grexit. However, some fear that the new election will hinder the implementation of reforms. Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said he hoped Mr Tsipras’ resignation and the elections scheduled on September 20th would not delay or derail the bailout package, Italian media write.

Be that as it may, Greek creditors expect the agreement to be turned into concrete measures by October, or else they will stop supporting Athens financially, Les Echos writes.

Meanwhile, most media report that several extreme-left MPs from Syriza have decided to leave the party to create a new one, called “Popular Unity” and headed by Panayotis Lafazanis, a Parliament spokesperson announced. It was not possible to continue to back Mr Tsipras’ government, Mr Lafazanis said, as quoted by Corriere della Sera.




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