Greece is again facing elections and polls show that the fight will be mainly between New Democracy and SYRIZA. However, none of the parties is expected to win the majority vote of the Greek citizens, which will undoubtedly put again on the agenda the issue of cooperation between political forces after 17 June. Smaller parties, without which it would not be possible to form a government, will play a crucial role in determining which road Greece will take. Many analysts note that Fotis Kouvelis’ Democratic Left will play a significant role in forming the government. The representative of the democratic left and a candidate from the region of Pieria Notis Ananiadis spoke to GRReporter to give the general outlines of the programme of the party.
In its campaign, the Democratic Left said it wanted Greece to remain in the euro area but to withdraw the country from the Memorandum for financial assistance too. What is the difference with SYRIZA in this regard?
The main difference is how we will withdraw the country from the Memorandum. SYRIZA supports the cancellation of the bailout agreement and the terms for its implementation. This means that the moment we announce its cancellation, Greece will return to the drachma the next morning. We say that we should unite with Europe, which is changing and is opposing austerity measures and cuts. This is t Europe of Hollande, of the Social Democrats and the Left forces willing to liberate the people from these constantly tightening austerity measures.
Therefore, we say that we respect the obligations the country has taken, but we want to enter into negotiations that will allow us to pursue a less stringent policy until 2018. Cuts and permanent economic recession cannot allow the state to pay its debts after two years. We want to renegotiate the Memorandum in order to ensure the future of Greece in the euro area, which is our absolute goal, but within a different economic programme.
You say that if SYRIZA becomes the first political force tomorrow it will cancel the Memorandum thus taking Greece outside the eurozone. Do you think that a party pretending to be pro-European does not understand the danger? Why does it insist on cancelling the bailout agreement if this will lead to a catastrophe?
You should ask SYRIZA, but I understand that you will not easily get a definite answer. There are people in SYRIZA insisting that Greece returns to the drachma. Party parliamentary representative Panagiotis Lafazanis has openly supported the drachma. In this party, there are other voices that are more moderate and that have opposed the unilateral actions of Athens. A third group have explained that they will offset the rejected funds with citizens' deposits in banks and the fourth group insists on imposing mandatory loans on people who have deposits of over 20 thousand euro. From this perspective, even SYRIZA’s representatives themselves cannot answer your question. Their policy is very dangerous and it will really take us to a disaster called drachma.
What restrained you from taking part in a coalition government after the elections on 6 May?
The President of the Republic gave the mandate to form a government to the first three parties elected with the highest number of votes. SYRIZA used its mandate to meet with social organizations and trade unions that have no weight in the decision of forming a government. We did what we could with the 6.11% given to us by the Greek people. We went to SYRIZA to offer them our support. We stated to Alexis Tsipras that we would support and take part in a modern centre-left government that would slowly and gradually begin to withdraw Greece from the Memorandum. However, he had other plans. Tsipras had assessed that new elections could make SYRIZA the first party. When the idea of a government of leftist forces failed, we did everything possible to support a coalition government involving the four largest parties. Today we are again preparing for elections because SYRIZA choose to put its narrow partisan interests before those of the people.
Are you ready to collaborate with SYRIZA after 17 June?
We are ready, of course. Furthermore, I would like to say that the Democratic left in no case would allow a third round of elections in Greece. We are ready to collaborate with SYRIZA as well as with PASOK. We fulfilled our obligations after the first elections and we will meet them again. It depends on whether SYRIZA will take its responsibility or will again throw away its chance.