Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday took exception to a recent quip by Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem calling for elections in Greece to be held in 2019, when the current coalition government’s term ends.
Dijsselbloem, whose party was routed in last March’s elections in the Netherlands and whose future as both Dutch FinMin and Eurogroup chief are in limbo, made the statement in an interview with the Athens daily “Kathimerini”, which was published on Sunday.
“The (Greek) constitution stipulates that elections take place when the government majority is lost or when the prime minister decides to declare early elections. It is no one’s business to determine what the proper time is for elections in Greece, it’s an internal matter…” Mitsotakis said during an address at an event sponsored by the Harvard Business School Club of Greece.
He also dismissed the notion that elections will create political instability, saying instead such a prospect allows the country to acquire a government “capable of providing growth that satisfies its citizens”.
The current leftist-rightist coalition government emerged in the wake of a snap election in January 2015 – triggered by the failure to elect a figurehead president of the republic by a Parliament majority of 180 MPs – while a controversial and divisive referendum followed less than six months later after shambolic negotiations with creditors broke down. Yet another snap election was held in September of the same year, with leftist SYRIZA losing ground from the January 2015 poll but still coming in “first-past-the-post”. It again formed a government with the small rightist-populist AN.EL party.
The pro-business Mitsotakis also reiterated two main positions that have figured prominently in his recent statements, namely, the need to reduce primary budget surplus targets (as a percentage of GDP) demanded by creditors, and a new government that is able to fully implement reforms.