Tsipras sets out Greek debt strategy

WITH the latest polls showing his left-leaning party had a good chance of winning Greece’s election later this month, Alexis Tsipras has detailed his economic platform, promising his first act would be to annul the terms of the country’s financial rescue packages.

Mr Tsipras, 37, was only a minor character in Greek politics until recently. But he appears to be rallying the battered nation around his call to fight off foreign creditors.

In a news conference on Friday, he described a dozen measures he would take if elected, ranging from extending unemployment benefits to nationalising banks and delaying payments to creditors. He said he would replace the bailout plan with ”a national regeneration plan,” adding that the goal was to reach a ”just and viable European solution”.

Advertisement: Story continues below

”We don’t claim that there is plenty of money,” he said. ”Greek people are not asking for money. They are asking for work and the ability to make a living.”

Mr Tsipras’ surprising success in the last elections on May 6, when he came in second, set off a wave of concern across Europe. European leaders responded by all but endorsing candidates from the more mainstream parties that had negotiated and signed the terms of Greece’s bailout. One measure of the changing landscape in Greece is that Mr Tsipras’ proposals are no longer sounding so far out of the mainstream.

In May, centre-right New Democracy and the Socialist Pasok maintained that Greece had no option but to abide by the terms of the bailout or be thrown out of the eurozone. But these days they are sounding more like Mr Tsipras, who says the deal could be renegotiated without Greece giving up the euro.

New Democracy and Pasok are now calling for renegotiating the agreement with foreign creditors. An International Monetary Fund spokesman said the group was willing to hear ”any ideas” the next Greek government has on meeting the fiscal targets of the debt deal.