December 26, 2014 / 11:51 PM / 5 years ago

Schaeuble warns a new Greek govt must respect austerity vows

BERLIN, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Any new Greek government would have to respect austerity pledges made by the current and past ones and the country’s debt situation would not change in the event of a snap election, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Saturday.

In an interview with Bild newspaper, Schaeuble said Greece has made “enormous progress” since 2009 in overcoming its debt crisis and said “we ought to show a little more respect for that.” But he said Greece’s austerity vows were binding.

“Every new government needs to fulfil the contractual agreements of its predecessors,” Schaeuble said, adding that would not be changed by possible new elections.

Schaeuble said Greece would continue to get support from abroad for its efforts to improve its fiscal situation. “But if Greece goes in another direction then that’s going to be a difficult situation,” he said.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has expressed hopes that parliament will elect a new president on Monday to avert the threat of snap elections. In the second round of voting on Tuesday, the government’s candidate Stavros Dimas got within 12 votes of the 180 he will need to be elected next Monday, an improvement on his disappointing first round score.

But the numbers remain tight and if Dimas falls short, new elections will have to be held by early February, potentially bringing in the left wing Syriza party and throwing into doubt the future of talks to wind up Greece’s international bailout.

Already parties are preparing for an election campaign which would start the moment it became clear on Monday that the three-fifths majority Dimas needs to be elected was out of reach. (Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Christian Plumb)

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