As Greece forms an emergency caretaker government ahead of another round of parliamentary elections, the man who is expected to gain the most votes in that poll has attacked the European Union and in particular German Chancellor Angela Merkel for forcing draconian austerity programs onto the beleaguered Greek people.
Alexis Tsipras, the chief of the radical leftist Syriza party (which scored an impressive second-place finish in recent elections), accused Merkel of risking people's lives by pressuring nations around the continent to a raft of spending cuts.
Tsipras, who vehemently opposes the terms of the huge European Union/International Monetary Fund bailouts to Greece, apparently has much support in the country considering he is expected to amass the most votes in the upcoming June 17 elections. Thus far, he has scuttled all attempts to form a coalition government by his intransigence over the matter of austerity and bailouts. The failure by Greece’s major political parties to cooperate on a unity government has led to the latest wrinkle in the continuing crisis: a new election.
“[If the] disease of austerity destroys Greece, it will spread to the rest of Europe,” he told BBC, suggesting that banks are profiting from the ongoing euro zone crisis.
Therefore the European leadership and especially Mrs. Merkel need to stop playing poker with the lives of people.”
Tsipras has said he wants Greece to remain in the euro zone, but has demanded that bailout agreements be renegotiated by providing more favorable terms for Greece – a measure that senior EU officials have ruled out.
However, Merkel, as well as European Central Bank (ECB) Governor Mario Draghi and Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, have all insisted that they want Greece to remain in the euro zone.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle warned that Greece’s fate will impact all of Europe.
“The Greek people should know what they are voting about. It's not about party politics, but about Greece's future in Europe and the euro,” he said.
Charles Dallara, the head of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), issued a starker warning about Greece, declaring a Greek exit from the euro would be somewhere between catastrophic and Armageddon.”
“The costs for Greece, for Europe and for the global economy are likely each in their own way to be immense,” he said.
“I think it is incumbent on the rest of us -- and I would suggest that includes other European leaders -- to pause in what has become a very popular game of telling the Greeks how to run their lives.”
Meanwhile, Greek president Karolos Papoulias has appointed Council of State president and judge Panagiotis Pikrammenos as head of an interim government.
It is clear to all that our homeland is going through difficult times, Pikrammenos said.
We must safeguard its prestige and assure a smooth transition.