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What’s up in Greece’s politics? Ex PASOK PM Simitis calls for Early Elections

Odd things are happening in Greece’s politics. After 13 years of silence, the prime minister who took Greece to the eurozone, tha man who urged Greeks to put their savings in Athens Stock Exchange and saw it collapse without doing nothing, gave an interview. What did Costas Simitis say? “Early Elections!”

In the same wave length with his former aide, current central banker, and with conservative New Democracy, former PASOK Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday that he “fears” the way negotiations are being conducted with the country’s international creditors, and that Greece could be heading for an “accident.”

“The negotiations have been going on for months and there is no one in Europe and Greece who is not saying that the longer there are delays in the [bailout] reviews, the worse matters are going to become,” he told Skai TV on Tuesday evening in his first television interview in 15 years.

Describing Greece’s situation as an emergency, the former PASOK leader said the only solution for the country is early elections, as the ruling coalition, he said, has lost the confidence of the electorate.

Simitis said among others:

  • The Greek crisis erupted because of the management by the government 2008-2009.” [New Democracy under Costas Karamanlis]
  • If we stay serious and do not waste our time on secondary issues we will manage earlier than 2030.
  • The first bailout was signed without a plan submitted by the government [PM Simitis’ successor George Papandreou/PASOK]
  • the foreigners have also responsibility because they follow a course that doesn’t fit to Greece
  • The debt has been settled with the 3. bailout. The government either mocks the people or is not aware of the situation
  • The first 4 years of our governance the deficit was only 17 billion. In one year of Karamanlis governance it turned to 36 billion.
  • After 2000, growth was 4.1% and continued increase until 2004
  • Greece meet the economic targets of the Eurozone, they were examined in 2000 and proved to be right
  • Participation in the EU is necessary. A European state cannot operate alone.
  • Corruption is a social phenomenon, its cannot be extinguished with parliamentary investigation committees*.

Simitis calls and warning comes a day after his former aide, the current governor of Bank of Greece, Yannis Stournaras fired similar salvos urging the government to conclude the second review as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras commented on Simitis interview describing him as “a ghost of the past calling for elections”.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said “the old system is calling the reserves.”

According to one scenario, some ‘centers’ plan to establish a broader national government with a non-elected Prime Minister. The claim has it that Stournaras could be this one PM like Papadimos in 2011.

Now the usual mean Greeks reckon on social media all the ‘achievements’ that took place in Simitis ruling period: Swap with Goldman Sachs, the SIEMENS scandal, bribes in armament procurement, the Athens Stock Exchange scandal, the overspending in Athens Summer Olympics 2004.

Costas Simitis, served as Greece’s prime minister from June 1996 to February 2004.

With reference to George Simenon book The Man who Watched Trains Go By where an owner bankrupts his own company , a Greek commented: The man who watched bribes go by

*With 252 votes the Greek Parliament voted on Tuesday to probe former Defense Minister Yannos Papantoniou (PASOK) on defense deals.

PS I think the scenario above is rather unfounded because ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will never allow anyone to grab the premiership out of his hands. Who is behind this scenario then? The old PASOK? The neo-liberal ‘reformists’ of PASOK who did not move over to SYRIZA? Possible…

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  1. Forget the Greek Stock Market. This is the politician who took Greece into the eurozone with no public debate at all. He has still not apologised for his incompetence, the lack of research on the matter, and the failure to consult the Greek public. Nor do we get any explanation for why all of his economic advisors apparently had nothing intelligent to say about the Greek economy in all those years; or why he had nothing to say about their nothing to say. Incompetence? maybe. Corruption? maybe. Treason? maybe. Crony capitalism: definitely yes.

  2. Had we been citizens and not fans of charlatans such as Papandreou, Simitis, Samaras, Tsipras etc., we would have demanded that the German agent who falsified figures to tie the country to the Euro straitjacket is charged for high treason. Instead, he is free as a bird and talks stupidities to the media.

  3. Ianni: the problem is that it is not only one person. In my opinion (as a resident xenos) almost the entire political class of Greece colluded with the French and Germans over an extended period (say, 1989 to the present). This included plans to join Schengen as early as 1990, to join the eurozone in 1999, along with a host of other things that were mindlessly accepted as the “European way” that Greece should behave. There was no attempt at negotiation of EU policies; no attempt at gaining any opt-outs (as the UK did repeatedly, along with Denmark and others); no attempt to play any meaningful role in the EU. Greece’s political class saw its role as taking money and instructions from the EU: that included massive opportunities for personal corruption and career development outside of Greece. In other words, the Greek political class completely failed Greece. Nothing has changed: that is where things stand now.