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Greek Finance Ministry rejects 'snap polls threat' reports

By Ians English

Athens, Dec 12 Greek Finance Ministry rejected on Sunday Greek media reports over a verbal war between Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and his counterparts during the December 5 Eurogroup meeting which allegedly ended in talks regarding new snap elections in Greece.


"No talking took place with references to polls by the Finance Minister during the Euro Group meeting or on the sidelines," Xinhua quoted a ministry statement.

"We cannot take more austerity measures. If you add more pressure on us, we will be forced to go to elections," Tsakalotos allegedly told other European finance ministers last Monday, according to a Vima (Tribune) daily report citing "sources close to the two sides."

According to the report that was reproduced by several other Greek media on Sunday, a European official speaking on condition of anonymity told the newspaper that Tsakalotos faced a negative climate during the last Eurogroup meeting by most of his counterparts who insisted that IMF should join again the Greek bailout.

The Vima report said the announcement Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made on Thursday evening regarding the distribution of 617 million euros ($650.76 million) Christmas benefits to low income pensioners without previously consulting Greece's international lenders caused further dismay to creditors.

The surprise announcement has fuelled early election scenarios in Athens, although cabinet ministers strongly reject the idea that Thursday's declaration was a "pre-election handout".

"Ballots in March" was the characteristic title on the frontpage of Sunday's "Eleftheros Typos", while the frontpage of Real News read "Elections only if they force us".


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