Greek radical leader sets ten-day deadline to sway creditors

Agence France-Presse
Greek radical leftist leader Alexis Tsipras, seen as a likely winner in Sunday's (June 17) elections, has set himself a ten-day deadline to renegotiate an EU-IMF bailout which he claims is killing the country's weakened economy

ATHENS, Greece (AFP) – Greek radical leftist leader Alexis Tsipras, seen as a likely winner in Sunday’s (June 17) elections, has set himself a ten-day deadline to renegotiate an EU-IMF bailout which he claims is killing the country’s weakened economy.

In an interview with state television NET late on Wednesday, June 13, Tsipras said he wanted to “re-examine and replace” the loan agreement with another blueprint to stabilize the economy which is wracked by a five-year recession.

Tsipras, 37, said his first task as prime minister would be “to make use of the crucial ten-day period ahead of the June 28 EU summit for a true and rugged negotiation” on the bailout, which he has previously termed a deadly medicine for the economy.

He added that European leaders “ought to realize that the policy of austerity has failed.”

Syriza are expected to win up to a third of the vote on Sunday, which will be insufficient for an outright majority.

They got nearly 17 percent of the vote at a first inconclusive ballot on May 6, coming a close second to the New Democracy conservatives.

Neither party is expected to win an outright majority on Sunday and will need allies to govern.

Tsipras has ruled out working with New Democracy and the socialist Pasok party, who have ruled Greece for the past 38 years and share responsibility for the austerity cuts.

New Democracy have also pledged to renegotiate parts of the EU-IMF rescue deal to boost growth.

But unlike Syriza, they do not intend to unilaterally scrap many of the labour reforms tied to the bailout such as minimum wage cuts and simplified layoff rules.

European leaders have threatened to cut off Greece’s upcoming loan installments if the promised reforms falter.

French President Francois Hollande also warned that if Athens does not keep its bailout commitments, some of its eurozone partners will want it out of the bloc.

Hollande told Greek Mega Channel television on Wednesday that if it appears from the vote that the country doesn’t want to respect the bailout deal “there will be countries in the eurozone which would prefer to end Greece’s presence in the eurozone.” – Agence France-Presse