Sunday

2nd Oct 2022

Greek PM offers compromise on elections

  • "We cannot be swamped in an electoral battle right now,” Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said. (Photo: European People's Party)

Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras has offered to bring forward parliamentary elections and expand the government to independent MPs, in a bid to secure a majority for his presidential candidate.

Speaking in an unscheduled TV address on Sunday (21 December), Samaras insisted on the need to avoid early parliamentary elections in the coming months, but said they could take place "by the end of 2015".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Samaras and his government have obtained a two-month extension of the country's EU and International Monetary Fund bailout program, whose terms of exit still have to be negotiated with international lenders.

He appealed to lawmakers’ “common sense”, saying it was vital to complete the negotiations in an environment of "calm and certainty."

"We cannot be swamped in an electoral battle right now,” he said.

The Greek political scene is anything but calm these days, after accusations of bribery to secure the support for Samaras' presidential candidate, former EU commissioner Stavros Dimas.

A first round of presidential votes in the parliament was 40 votes short of the required majority, with MPs on Tuesday having another attempt at electing the new head of state.

If a third attempt fails on 29 December, the parliament will be dissolved and early elections have to be organised, with EU politicians and markets spooked at the prospect of the far left Syriza party coming into power.

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras wants the international community to pardon Greece's debt, just as Germany had its debt slashed after the Second World War.

Samaras rejected the bribery accusations and called on the independent MPs to back Dimas. He suggested that if the presidential elections are successful, the government "can expand with other people who believe in the European prospects of the country."

Following the first election attempt last week, Independent Greeks party MP Pavlos Haikalis said he was approached by someone in the "financial sector" who offered him a €3 million bribe to vote for Dimas.

Haikalis, a well-known TV actor, told reporters he handed over audio and video evidence to prosecutors. The Greek government maintains this as just "badly-acted theatre."

EU leaders have recently all-but spelled out whom they want to see elected in Greece, with EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker saying "known faces" should win, rather than "extreme forces."

For her part, German chancellor Angela Merkel at the end of an EU summit last week said she wants Greece to stay on a "stable path" and that she "wishes the presidential elections to succeed."

All eyes on Greece as presidential elections begin

Greek MPs are gathering for a first attempt to choose a president, with EU officials concerned about the prospect of snap elections and a sweep to power by the far-left Syriza party.

Greece in last attempt to elect president

The Greek parliament on Monday will have a last attempt at electing a new president or face snap general elections that could sweep the anti-bailout far-left into power.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. EU ministers adopt measures to tackle soaring energy bills
  2. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  3. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  4. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  5. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  6. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  7. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  8. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks
  2. Putin declares holy war on Western 'satanism'
  3. Two elections and 'Macron's club' in focus Next WEEK
  4. EU agrees windfall energy firm tax — but split on gas-price cap
  5. Ukrainian chess prodigy: 'We are not going to resign ... anywhere'
  6. Going Down Under — EU needs to finish trade deal with Australia
  7. MEPs worry Russian disinfo weakens support for Ukraine
  8. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us