World weighs in on Greeks' voting options

As international pressure grew on Friday for Greece to honor its commitments to its foreign creditors, political parties responded sharply to perceived attempts to interfere in domestic politics while European leaders heading to Mexico for the G20 summit were said to have Sunday’s Greek elections in mind.
European Commission spokeswoman Pia Hansen told reporters in Brussels that senior EU officials would issue a statement on the election result on Sunday. Sources said an emergency session of eurozone finance ministers would likely be called after the elections.

Meanwhile, senior US Treasury Department official Lael Brainard sought to strike a positive tone, noting that “everyone is prepared, in the wake of elections in Greece, to work together to make sure that there is a path forward that is sustainable for Greece and bolsters confidence more broadly.”

The developments came a few hours after a report by the Financial Times suggested that EU leaders may soften some of the terms of Greece’s debt deal. Another report, by the FT’s German edition -- proposing that Greeks vote for New Democracy as the best of a bad bunch to avert a Greek eurozone exit -- caused a political storm.

“Dear Greeks, vote courageously for reforms instead of angrily against the necessary, painful structural changes,” read the editorial, which was published in Greek and German. “Resist the demagoguery of Alexis Tsipras,” it added, referring to the leader of the leftist party which rejects the bailout.

SYRIZA condemned the editorial as “a coarse and unprecedented intervention.”

ND, which co-signed the deal but now wants a renegotiation, reacted sharply too. “We do not want orders. We do not want provocation and manipulation,” said spokesman Yiannis Michelakis.

Socialist PASOK said the article was “offensive for the Greek people.”

Pressed for Germany’s official line on the Greek elections, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “The chancellor does not give voting advice to neighboring and friendly countries.”

Berlin’s established stance -- for the strict implementation of reforms -- was reiterated by Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann in an interview with Kathimerini and three other newspapers.

He said the new government would be “bound by existing agreements” and that if it “opted out,” further aid would be in jeopardy. 

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