‘Greek debt cannot be repaid, bailout program a disaster'

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras © Christian Hartmann
Despite a division inside the ruling Syriza party ahead of snap elections, party member Anastasia Giamali told RT that the deal with Greece’s creditors was the best possible decision and a “pragmatic” one to make amid economic asphyxiation forced on the country.

RT:What is your reaction to Prime Minster Tsipras stepping down and clearing the way for new elections?

Anastasia Giamali: I think it is a very smart move given the situation that we are witnessing currently in Greece. I think that the main reason Alexis Tsipras declared a snap election is to reduce the negative side-effects for the people that voted for him, voted for Syriza. The people that voted for Syriza are the unemployed, the working-classes, the poor and pensioners.

READ MORE: Greek PM Tsipras steps down, calls early elections

This agreement that the Greek government reached is not the best possible agreement – but it is a far better agreement than many other, any previous government has brought up.

RT:But it has driven a big wedge between your party, hasn’t it? And many people are still concerned, many people that voted for Syriza in the first place against austerity now say that you have backtracked.

AG: I think Syriza is [being] forced to take a pragmatic turn. The Left Platform, the Syriza fraction that is pro-drachma, pro national currency, according to the majority of the party did not present an overall plan but just a theory. And this is the main criticism by the majority of the party towards the Left Platform.

RT:Tsipras also stated that Greece is obligated to fulfill the agreement it made to the creditors.

AG: My personal opinion is that it is very hard to fulfill these promises. I think that in close collaboration with the people, with the movements and with Greek society, the people that Syriza after all is really representing, many of these negative terms, negative side-effects, negative conditions may be somehow overthrown.

RT:How is that possible do you think? I ask that because you know, within a couple of months people are going to see that their taxes go up, they are going to see their pensions cut – they are going to be angry, aren’t they?

AG: This is why people must decide in this coming election whether they want a government that will say ‘yes’ to everything, like the governments of New Democracy and PASOK did in the past…

RT:But aren’t you saying yes to everything now? I mean that’s what you’ve said to the Troika, and they have come back to you saying ‘You’ve got to change your views on many things’, and Mr. Tsipras has done exactly that?

AG: I would disagree with this. Mr. Tsipras and Syriza did their best in the environment of banking and economic asphyxiation forced on the country, the capital controls and problems it caused during the high touristic season, and all that. He and the party had no other choice but to accept. But still they tried to change things, they tried to do the best for the majority of the Greek people.

And at the same time they promised, and this is what they are going to this election, to tackle tax evasion, corruption and bureaucracy. And these are problems are very at the core of the Greek society, the Greek political system, and are to a great extent the causes of many problems in Greece, and the crisis to an extent.

RT:Many people have said, and even the IMF, that this not sustainable because you need a debt haircut, but this has not been something that’s been discussed. What’s your stand on that?

AG: I think that it is actually being discussed: for the first time all around Europe and all around the world the discussion about the Greek debt has started. People now understand that the Greek debt is unsustainable and cannot be repaid. There is a huge discussion by the creditors as well, who have agreed that in the long term there will be some sort of debt relief. I don’t know whether it’s going to be a haircut or something else, but now it has become clear to everyone – it has been made clear by Syriza – that the Greek debt is unsustainable, and that the bailout programs of the past have been nothing but a disaster.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

LISTEN MORE: