Germany expresses concern over Greece early elections
German politicians warned Greece Tuesday that economic and financial reforms should continue after elections despite Greek opposition threats to break away from imposed austerity measures.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greek politicians should stick to reform.

"The tough reforms are bearing fruit, they are without any alternative," Schaeuble said.

"Every new government must comply with the contractual agreements concluded with the predecessor. If Greece takes another course, then it will be difficult," he added.

The Greek parliament was left with no option Monday but to dissolve after lawmakers failed to agree on a new president for the third time. The coalition government's candidate, Stavros Dimas, failed to win at least 180 votes.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and sister party Christian Social Union expressed concern over early elections in Greece.

"This is incredibly annoying," Ralph Brinkhaus, deputy CDU/CSU parliamentary leader, told Handelsblatt newspaper. "Again we will waste a lot of time for the next reform steps,” Brinkhaus said.

Opinion polls show that SYRIZA, a coalition of the radical left, is the most likely winner of the upcoming elections on Jan. 25, 2015.

Alexis Tsipras, leader of SYRIZA, promised to form an anti-bailout government aimed at ending conditional aid given to Greece by the troika, the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

Chancellor Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democrat Party or the SPD, warned that such a move was not realistic.

"In the face of current debt situation, Greece would not be capable of acting without receiving aid from abroad,” Carsten Schneider, deputy group leader of the SPD, told Handelsblatt.

Schneider argued that the new government of Greece should continue talks with the troika over the reforms in the interest of the Greek people.

Germany’s Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth praised Greece’s progress so far in the reform program.

"Citizens should know that structural reform would not ruin, but stabilize the social state,” Roth tweeted.

Germany’s opposition Left Party blamed Chancellor Merkel for recent political uncertainties in Greece that led to early elections.

"This is the price of austerity policies of the EU and Chancellor Angela Merkel,” Bernd Riexinger, co-chairman of the Left Party, said.

Germany’s anti-euro movement, Alternative for Germany or AfD, welcomed the early elections in Greece.

"The current political crisis in Germany finally gives the opportunity for the country to pull the emergency brake and exit from the euro,” Bernd Lucke, AfD leader said in a statement.

With its anti-euro rhetoric, Germany’s first euro-skeptic party AfD saw growing support recently.

The party won seven seats in the European Parliament elections in May and entered state parliaments in Saxony, Brandenburg and Thuringia during 2014. It was founded in 2013 by a group of academics who questioned the common currency of euro after Greece’s financial crisis.

Germans have been critical of bailout programs for crisis-hit-countries. During discussions on EU rescue packages for Greece, many Germans opposed the move. A poll by the YouGov in 2012 showed that 56 percent of Germans were in favor of the exit of Greece from the eurozone.

Greece fell into recession after the collapse of U.S. bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, which sparked a euro-wide debt crisis the following year.

The EU and IMF provided €110 billion in bailout loans to Greece to help the government pay its creditors in 2010.

A second €130 billion bailout was provided in 2012.

Most of Greece's private-sector creditors agreed to write off about three-quarters of the debts owed by Athens and replace existing loans with new loans at a lower interest rate.

The years of austerity policies imposed by the bailout programs have soured sentiment against the coalition government of the New Democracy and Panhellenic Socialist Movement political parties. It has cut wages and social services, increased taxes and laid off public sector workers.

Last Modified: 2014-12-30 15:27:55
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