Samaras frames Greek election as choice between euro and drachma
The irresponsible left represented by the radical socialist coalition of parties known as SYRIZA and their leader Alexis Tsipras is pushing the New Democracy party of Antonis Samaras in the parliamentary election to held this Sunday. The anti and pro bailout forces appear to be neck and neck as the last few days of electioneering take place against a backdrop of crisis.
Samaras has finally done what he should have been doing all along; make the vote a referendum on Tsipras' mad scheme to play chicken with the EU over the bailout by threatening to tear up the agreement unless Greece gets better terms.
What will it be, Greece? The Euro or the drachma?
Speaking at the last election rally in central Athens before Sunday's election, Mr Samara warned of increased unemployment and softened immigration laws if voters choose Syriza.
"We are going into an election to decide the future of Greece and of our children," Mr Samaras, 61, told the crowd of several thousand waving Greek and EU flags in the capital's central Syntagma square.
"The first choice the Greek people must make is: euro versus drachma.
"There are some outside Greece who want the country to be the black sheep and push it out of the euro. We will not please them."
In turn, Mr Tsipras has accused New Democracy of mounting a scare campaign to try and drive supporters back to the old parties.
Eurozone officials have hinted they might give a new Greek government some leeway on how it reaches debt targets set by the European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout package, but there would be no change to the targets themselves.
Greece's lenders say they will turn off the taps if the country rejects the bailout.
Mr Tsipras says Europe is bluffing - arguing it cannot afford to cut Greece loose and risk the contagion for the much larger economies of Spain and Italy.
"The memorandum of bankruptcy will belong to the past on Monday," he told supporters on Thursday in the capital's Omonoia square.
Tsipras should look Angela Merkel in the eye and listen carefully to what she has to say. She isn't bluffing, and neither is the European Central Bank or the IMF. Greece will be cut off unless they meet -- or make a good faith effort to meet - the deficit targets. The rest of Europe will risk contagion rather than continue to backstop the Greek government's profligacy.
Samaras is correct in raising the specter of a chaotic switch to the drachma - a move that many experts believe would impoverish the country and send it into a depression. But Greeks are tired of the pain of austerity and many might accept leaving the euro in exchange for being out from under the heel of the Germans.
It's a Hobson's choice to be sure.