‘Anger of Greek people could bring down Tsipras’

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras © Christian Hartmann
Greek PM Alexis Tsipras might lose upcoming elections because the people – whose pensions and salaries are continually going down – understand they’ve been lied to, says Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, a former Greek diplomat and ambassador.

The Greek Prime Minister's resignation and announcement of a snap election has been met with mixed reaction. Some doubt whether Alexis Tsipras will have enough support to return to power in September, while others fear a return to chaos in Athens. In a televised address he said his party had done everything in its power to save Greece.

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

RT: We're expecting the Prime Minster to announce snap elections very soon. Are you surprised?

Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos: What he promised to the Greek people in January he never kept; that’s the big disappointment that the Greek people have today. What will be the outcome of the elections is to be seen, but what is interesting is the fact that the European Commission just reacted a short time ago by saying that this election would allow the Greek people to support the austerity program, which is the way that they want to present it but I very much doubt that this will happen.

RT: Will Syriza get the majority they need? Presumably people would be angry that they’ve had to sign up to all this austerity, this is precisely what they didn’t want.

LC: The people are angry, the people are disappointed and the people know that these measures will never be implemented for the simple reason that they cannot be implemented. We don’t have money to pay these taxes, which are not only these taxes but it’s an accumulation of taxes from the previous memoranda. Our pensions and salaries are constantly going down because of the increase of indirect taxation. So the people are very angry and I think that Tsipras might lose these elections because of the anger of the people and the fact that they were lied [to] in such a blatant way.

© Ronen Zvulun

RT: Do you think we could see a fresh anti-austerity movement in Greece, when the cutbacks start to bite later in the year?

LC: First, there is a break in his party with Lafazanis and the left-wing platform, but outside there are still some parties outside the Parliament, like EPAM [United Popular Front] which from 2011 has been insisting on an anti-austerity platform, on an anti-EU platform and on an anti-eurozone platform. It is quite possible that this party would be able to come into Parliament and try - along with other like-minded parties - to drive the country out of this crisis, and the only way to do this is by leaving the eurozone.

READ MORE: Greek ruling party to split after PM’s resignation

RT: Do you think people will accept that? We’ve heard that the Greek people want to stay in the EU but they don’t any austerity. Do you think they realize that you can’t have both?

LC: I think they are starting to realize that and this is maybe one reason why Tsipras is making the snap elections so quickly. The reason why he is doing it is that the people won’t be attacked by all the austerity measures that will come in basically in October. This is a game that he is playing, but many people have realized that there is no benefit from remaining in the eurozone and suffering like that and having to pay debts, really not debts until the year 2030, and so forth.

RT: Some people have argued this is the outcome Greece's creditors wanted all along to get a U-turn on austerity. Should they be worried about this election and how it might go?

LC: They will be worried basically because from now until the 20th of September when the elections will be held, none of the measures that have been imposed upon Greece will be implemented, because basically we will have a care-taker government that will not have the power to implement these measures. So this should be one area of concern for them.

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