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Tsipras: No snap elections, early IMF repayment will give Greece economic freedom

Repaying earlier expensive International Monetary Fund loans is a significant step for Greece which will create favorable conditions for its economy, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday, promising more relief measures.

“We are gaining points of (economic) freedom,” Tsipras said during an interview with Greece’s private ANT1 TV.

During the live interview, Tsipras also said that his administration would not lower a tax-free threshold, a measure which has been agreed with international lenders and is supposed to take effect next year to broaden the country’s tax base.

“The tax free (threshold) will not be reduced as long as Syriza is in government,” Tsipras said, referring to his left-wing party in power since 2015.

Elections are due later this year and the leftist leader ruled out an election earlier than that, vowing his government would see through its full term of 4 years.

National elections will be held as scheduled in October 2019, he said.

Tsipras also said in an interview that he was “used to losing in referendums, but winning at the ballot box,” and added this is a strategic choice that will not change because it signifies a return of Greece to normality.

He rejected suggestions to hold snap elections as politically more beneficial, and stressed that the upcoming May 26 elections will only concern the “critical Euroelections and local government elections.”

Greece is expected to meet its fiscal targets again this year and any outperformance will be distributed to the public, Tsipras said.

“After the (Easter) holidays I will meet with the minister of finance to consider what we can offer, not as a pre-election gift but as permanent relief measures because the Greek economy is faring better.” [reuters, amna]

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