Less than two weeks before general elections, Alexis Tsipras, the boss of Greece’s hard-left SYRIZA party, fended off accusations that his party is a threat to the troubled euro area as he once again vowed to cancel the terms of an international bailout.
“The threat to the future of the euro does not come from Greece and certainly not from SYRIZA,” Tsipras said in an interview with Kathimerini on Sunday.
“Look at what is happening in Spain, look at the anxiety of Italy, at the increasingly prevalent belief that the eurozone cannot survive in its present form without major changes,” he said calling for a Europe-wide solution to the debt crisis.
The 37-year-old leader, ahead in the latest Public Issue opinion poll, repeated his pledge to roll back wage and pension cuts included in the EU-IMF deal -- a prospect that horrified Greece’s creditors but has won SYRIZA support ahead of the June 17 vote. “We must break the vicious cycle of the crisis...this means scrapping the policies of the memorandum and the terms of the loan agreement,” he said repeating his aim to nationalize key industries and freeze privatizations if he wins the polls.
Tsipras denied that rejection of the memorandum entailed a euro exit as the pro-bailout PASOK and New Democracy have suggested.
“For us, existing the euro is not an option. And it is not an option for anyone in the eurozone. They should stop the fear-mongering,” he said. “The fact that PASOK and ND rejected any form of negotiation to stay in power does not mean there are no alternatives,” he said, refuting claims that his aim to renegotiate the debt deal is based on a false conviction that German threats of a Greek euro exit are a bluff.
SYRIZA and ND have suggested that their leaders will join a televised debate next week.