After the Greek coalition established the vote for the 2015 budget, the issue of the presidential election is on the table again. However, the date of the election will depend on the outcome of today’s Eurogroup regarding the bailout program.
The Greek government hopes that, ideally, the Eurogroup will agree for the bailout program to be extended until the end of January 2015. In case of agreement with the troika of international creditors, the program may be extended by three months. The worst case would be that Greece’s lenders won’t accept the measures taken and the 2015 budget and will force a six-month extension of the current bailout program.
Coming out of the House after the 2015 budget vote, Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis talked to reporters saying that the extension is an issue that will be discussed in today’s Eurogroup. The Greek official said that there will be a short-term extension until all the necessary procedures for establishing an Enhanced Conditions Credit Line (ECCL) will be completed.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said the ECCL is not a loan; it is a support credit line so that Greece can borrow from the international markets at low-interest rates and it is not added to the sovereign debt.
After the Eurogroup, the Samaras government will throw the name of the candidate on the table. The coalition is counting the votes it can have at its disposal for the election of president of the republic from the present parliament. The number of votes in favor of the budget was 155, meaning that the MPs who voted in favor will also vote for president from the present parliament. The remaining 25 votes needed for the minimum of 180 required, will have to be from independent MPs as SYRIZA and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) are firmly against electing president from the present parliament.
Some independent MPs showed their intention to vote in favor of election from the present parliament. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who keeps pushing for snap elections, implied that independents who will vote in favor of the government’s proposal would have been manipulated.
“Greece may need some more time before the last tranche,” Schaeuble says
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said today in Brussels that Greece may need some more time before disbursement of the last tranche of the bailout program, according to Reuters.
Speaking ahead of the talks of the euro zone finance ministers, Schaeuble said that this is not the first time Greece is asking for extra time to implement reforms required, but overall is on the right path.
According to the report, the Eurogroup is considering extending the current bailout program by six months.