Greek radical left leader says bailout 'history' after vote
(ATHENS) - The head of Greece's radical leftist Syriza party, seen as a front-runner in Sunday's election, insisted Tuesday that the country's international rescue deal would be "history" after the vote.
"The bailout deal is already in the past. It will be history for good on Monday," Alexis Tsipras said ahead of the vote, seen as crucial for the debt-laden country's future in the eurozone.
Tsipras, 37, has alarmed European leaders by threatening to tear up the EU-IMF multi-billion loan agreement that has kept Greece afloat at the cost of painful austerity reforms.
"A process of peaceful revolution is underway," Tsipras told a news conference, where he refused to take questions from foreign media.
"On Monday, the forces of internal corruption and global usury will stop writing (bailout deals) because our people are about to write history."
Greece's European peers have warned Athens in stark terms that further loan payments could halt if promised reforms, including an unpopular privatisation drive, falter.
Should this happen, many analysts warn that Greece could be forced to ditch the euro and print its own currency to pay pensions and salaries.
Syriza, which catapulted to second place behind the conservative New Democracy party at an inconclusive election on May 6, could win up to a third of the vote on Sunday, according to opinion polls.
Neither party is expected to win an outright majority, and will need allies in order to form a government.
Syriza intends to scrap deep labour reforms passed a few months ago, raise the minimum wage and freeze state asset sales, but insists that Greece can still stay in the euro.
The party argues that a chaotic exit by Greece from the euro would start a dangerous chain reaction and will never be allowed to happen.
"We are certain that we will be able to deal with our peers and creditors effectively," Tsipras said on Tuesday.
"We will not go to (EU peers) with a sense of bullying. We will go to persuade them that a eurozone country is falling apart from (their) options."
"We all have an interest in halting the disaster. You first, we will tell them, have an interest in stopping this Cold War...the blackmail over the funding," he said.
"If a eurozone member is brought to collapse...the fire burning in southern European countries will become an inferno...and will spread to the centre, the eurozone will fall apart," he warned.
Syriza plans to raise money for social support programmes by freezing debt repayment, raising taxes on the wealthy and cutting weapons spending.
"This is not just a fight for Greeks, it's for all the European people," Tsipras said.
"We are fighting to restore democracy in Europe, starting from the country that birthed democracy. We will not back down because we have a whole people behind us."
"A victory for Syriza is a historic event for all of Europe," he said.
Text and Picture Copyright 2012 AFP. All other Copyright 2012 EUbusiness Ltd. All rights reserved. This material is intended solely for personal use. Any other reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of the copyright owner is strictly forbidden and any breach of copyright will be considered actionable.