Greek Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis issued a fresh warning on Sunday that Greece would not repay loan installments to the International Monetary Fund in June,while Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis publicly pondered on the advantages and disadvantages of Grexit during a ruling party meeting. stocks
Following the latest EU summit in Riga on Friday and talks with European leaders on the terms of a new deal to address the Greek debt crisis, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faced mounting pressure at the weekend from his Radical Left SYRIZA party hardliners who oppose more concessions to Greece’s creditors in return for further vital funding to keep the country afloat and in the euro zone.
“The installments to the IMF in June, starting from June 5 to June 19, amount to 1.6 billion euros. This money will not be given. There is no money to repay the installments,” Voutsis said during an interview with a local television channel.
He echoed similar statements made by other cabinet ministers in recent days who have openly said that after struggling to meet its financial obligations to the IMF and pay salaries and pensions this spring with no international aid since last summer, Athens can no longer make it without urgent foreign assistance.
Voutsis expressed optimism that a “mutually beneficial compromise” will be reached on time with lenders and there will not be a credit event and a subsequent Greek exit from the European common currency zone.
Lafazanis, who leads SYRIZA’s so-called Left Platform of hardliners who object to key reforms and privatizations, appeared to welcome the default and Grexit during his speech at the party central committee meeting on Sunday in Athens.
“How come Grexit and return to national currency equal destruction?” he asked, calling for an “open discussion on the alternative way in Greece” six years after the start of the debt crisis and the introduction of two bailouts.
Arguing that Greece’s exit from the euro zone would harm the interests of the wealthy and not poor Greeks, Lafazanis accused creditors of “blackmail” and called on the government to “prepare people for what could follow, tell the truth and be sure of citizens’ support.”
The Left Platform warned that they would not support an agreement that was not consistent with the party’s pre-election program against austerity, over taxation and the sellout of public assets.
Addressing the party meeting earlier Tsipras said that after four months of marathon negotiations Greece was on the final stretch to reach a “viable solution” with lenders, stressing that his government would not accept “unreasonable humiliating conditions.”
In the latest opinion survey released this weekend most Greek citizens support the government’s stance, although the percentage has dropped from 90 percent in February to 54 percent today, according to the poll conducted by Public Issue polling firm for “Avgi” (Dawn) newspaper.
About 58 percent of respondents said that the government should not give in to creditors’ pressure for more painful measures and 37 percent said Tsipras should make more steps to secure a deal.
Most respondents (56 percent) preferred the agreement’s ratification by the parliament rather than a referendum (34 percent).
In a possible referendum the overwhelming majority of Greeks (71 percent) would favor Greece’s stay in the euro zone instead of a return to drachma (19 percent), according to the survey. Enditem

-Xinhua

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