By Marco Bertacche & Eleni Chrepa
Greek anti-austerity SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras isn’t “frightened” by possible market turmoil in case of victory at the January 25 general election.
“We know markets certainly won’t be rooting for us and there’s a chance that initially they will show some aggressiveness toward a left government,” he said, according to excerpts of “Alexis Tsipras, My Left,” a book scheduled to be published in Italy next week. “The more you need money, the higher is the interest markets require.”
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was forced to ask for snap elections on December 29 after failing to get enough lawmakers to support his candidate for the country’s ceremonial presidency. Greek 10-year government bond yields climbed back above 10 percent this week as SYRIZA’s lead in polls was confirmed less than three weeks before the ballot.
The yield on 10-year government bonds fell 13 basis points to 9.99 percent at 12.05 p.m. in Athens. Greece’s benchmark stock index (ASE), the Athens Stock Exchange Index, rose 2.1 percent, paring this week’s decline so far to 7 percent.
Samaras has warned the election will determine Greece’s euro membership and raised the specter of default in case of a victory by Tsipras, who advocates higher wages and a writeoff of some Greek debt.
“Additionally, as to markets perception, the issue of debt negotiation is fundamentally important,” Tsipras told Teodoro Andreadis Synghellakis in the question-and-answer style book. SYRIZA vows to write down most of the nominal value of Greece’s debt once elected. “That’s what was done for Germany in 1953, it should be done for Greece in 2015,” Tsipras said in a speech in Athens January 3.
“The solution is balanced budgets to strongly limit the need to borrow money,” Tsipras said in the book. “Holding to a budget balance goal is really a key point in our strategy, as it gives us the possibility to negotiate from a strong position. That said, we need to say that budget balance doesn’t mean resorting to austerity per se.”
Stavros Theodorakis, leader of To Potami, which is polling in third place ahead of elections, said in an interview in Athens on Thursday that he won’t support any coalition willing to gamble with the country’s place in the euro.
“The goal is to create a majority of social forces where the Left can be the main actor that will be able to play a fundamental role in changing citizens' condition,” Tsipras said, according to the transcripts.