FinMin: No early elections, economy starting to emerge from recession

Finance minister George Papaconstantinou on Friday ruled out the prospect of early general elections, and expressed his conviction that the Greek economy was starting to emerge from recession, during a heated discussion in parliament with Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) rapporteur Asterios Rondoulis on the exploitation of state assets.

Papaconstantinou said that a plan already exists for the exploitation of state property aiming to raise 50 billion euros by the year 2015, clarifying that this was not a "Memorandum obligation" but a government choice.

He also ruled out the prospect of early general elections, reminding that prime minister George Papandreou himself has categorically stated that elections will take place at the end of the government's four-year term in office.

Rondoulis earlier charged that the issue of exploiting the country's real estate assets should have been opened up by the Greek side after achievement of the targets that have already been put to deliberations, while Tsipras said that the Memorandum was a resounding failure and that the government lacks the legitimisation and popular mandate to ratify decisions that will affect the future generations.

Papaconstantinou accused Tsipras of "cheap popularism" and of "permanently resorting to facile cliches", adding that the government has the authorisation of the people. He said that Greece's democracy has rules, elections take place, and one party has the majority for four years.

Responding to Rondoulis on the issue of the 50 billion euros, the finance minister assured that early general elections will not be called, while adding that the recession has started to become "shallower" and that Greece is starting to come out of the tunnel.

Papaconstantinou appealed for a stop to the early election speculations.

He also stressed that that target set this year for revenues from denationalisations will be exceeded.

"We are doing work, and we will reach the end," he said, adding that "the Greek citizens are backing a difficult effort".

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