Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras confirmed on Monday during a media interview that the country will go to the polls as scheduled in October 2019.

Tsipras rejected suggestions to hold snap elections as politically more beneficial, and stressed that the upcoming May 26 elections will only concern the “critical Euroelections and local government elections.”

During the interview, the Greek PM said that he was “used to losing in referendums, but winning at the ballot box,” and added this is a strategic choice that will not change because it signifies a return of Greece to normality. 

Tsipras addressed the issue of the Prespes Agreement within the context of the upcoming elections and said it was a good opportunity to resolve a dispute after thirty years despite the political cost, and that his predecessors would have done the same, had they been in similar circumstances, adding that the Prespes Agreement has achieved the best possible outcome for Greece. 

“We used to call people in North Macedonia by the name of their capital, ‘Skopjans’,” said the Greek premier, stressing that his government implemented a national line that existed since 2004.

Tsipras also said he called on political leaders twice for a meeting on the issue, but “New Democracy’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis had a rather extreme oppositional stance,” adopting conspiratorial theories and claiming secret exchanges in return for a deal.

Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, Tsipras said Greece needs Turkey to be politically stable. 

“We do not want a destabilized neighbor; we want a neighbor with political stability and open channels of communication,” Tsipras added.

“Developments are historic,” the premier said and expressed concern that Turkey would turn away from its alliances it shares with Greece. 

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