Europe

Greece not considering snap election, says Tsipras ally

Greek flags flutter as people walk down a central pedestrian street of Athens, 14 April 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Greece's government has been locked in strained negotiations with creditors since coming to power in January

Greece's state minister has ruled out speculation that the government is considering an early election.

Alekos Flambouraris told Greek TV there was "no point" in calling a poll, saying the country did not need it.

He was responding to reports that the government was considering a snap vote if it failed to find a settlement with its international creditors.

Greece has been locked in strained negotiations since coming to power in January on pledges to end austerity.

On Monday, Germany's Bild reported that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was prepared to call an early election in a bid to show that the Greek population was behind his attempts to renegotiate the terms of the country's €240bn (£176bn; $272bn) international bailout.

It quoted a Greek minister saying: "We have nothing to lose. If the EU remains hard, we must show that we stand firm."

'Specific mandate'

But Mr Flambouraris, a Greek state minister who is said to be close to the prime minister, ruled out the suggestion on Wednesday.

"There is no point in calling elections," he told Greek TV.

"They took place two months ago, we received a specific mandate which we will serve."

European Parliament Vice President Alexander Graf Lambsdorff was quoted by Bild as saying that a new election would act as a referendum on Greece's future in the eurozone.

But Dimitrios Papadimoulis, an MP in the left-wing Syriza party leading the government, said on Twitter on Wednesday that it was only the newspaper that wanted a poll, not Greeks.

Mr Tsipras's government has faced strong opposition from EU partners who are unwilling to offer major concessions in discussions over Greece's bailout.

It is in talks over a three-month extension to its €240bn (£176bn; $272bn) bailout negotiated at the end of February.

Greece is due to pay the International Monetary Fund (IMF) €203m on 1 May and €770m on 12 May.

But reports suggest it is rapidly running out of money. It needs to find €2.4bn to pay civil service salaries and pensions this month.