Tsipras demands snap elections

Syriza leader Alexis wants government to submit major policy moves and appointments for his approval

A victorious Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras pushes hard for early elections, depicting a government hostage to opposition approval

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras with incoming Attica governor Rena Dourou Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras with incoming Attica governor Rena Dourou Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras is rushing to capitalise on a major electoral victory, telling President Karolos Papoulias that he seeks general elections as soon as possible and demands a say in all top policy decisions and appointments that will have a lasting economic or political impact.

Tsipras minced no words in describing a political landscape where the government will be hostage to the opposition in implementing  major decisions. Touching on the core of governmental and prime ministerial authority, Tsipras declared that Samaras should "not even think about" appointing the next governor of the Bank of Greece or the country's next European Commissioner without Syriza approval.

Asserting that the government has ready plans for a series of new austerity measures, Tsipras warned the government not to go ahead with their implementation. He also warned against the sale or lease of seaside and naturally protected lands owned by the state, as well as the against the privatisation of water companies.

Effectively, the main opposition leader is now treating the New Democracy and Pasok ruling coalition as a caretaker government with strictly circumscribed authority, until general elections can be held.

The opposition leader's repeated references to the disharmony between the popular will and the current make-up of the parliament, which he insisted delegitimises the legislature and the government, suggested that there will be no democratic normalcy until the government steps down and calls elections.

He noted that if national elections had been held with yesterday's European Parliament results (with Syriza nearly four percentage points ahead), New Democracy and Pasok combined would have won only 94 parliamentary seats, compared to the 162 they have today.

He said that the two coalition parties lost a combined 11 percentage points from their 2012 aggregate results.

Tsipras clearly hinted however that he does not necessarily expect the government to pick up the gauntlet on early elections, as he warned that the current parliament should not even think of electing the next president of the Republic next February. That means that Syriza is determined to force general elections by that time at latest, as a broad parliamentary majority is needed to elect the president.

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Karolos Papoulias
Antonis Samaras
Alexis Tsipras