Athens could call early elections if its international lenders don't compromise on their proposals for a reforms-for-rescue deal, a Greek deputy minister said Friday.
"The lenders want to impose hard measures. If they do not back down from this package of blackmail the government ... will have to seek alternative solutions, elections," deputy Social Security Minister Dimitris Stratoulis said, according to Reuters.
Stratoulis is known to be on the far-left of the spectrum in Greece's ruling leftwing party Syriza and it was unclear if the statement represented a wider view within the party. However, the comment revealed growing anger within the party over the latest turn to negotiations with Greece's lenders.
No one from the Greek government was available to comment on the remarks when contacted by CNBC.
The remarks came as a poll by Alco for news website Newsit showed 45 percent of Greeks want the government to agree a deal with creditors even if this meant having to compromise. The polls indicate the dilemma prime minister Alexis Tsipras is facing: Upsetting either his electorate or his lenders.
The survey also showed a narrowing lead for the governing Syriza party over rival New Democracy and that 37 percent support early elections to resolve the standoff over the cash-for-reforms deal.
Talks between Greece and the bodies overseeing its bailout – the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- stepped up a gear this week with a toing-and-froing of alternative proposals – from both Greece and lenders -- put on the table.
In the latest twist, a Greek government document was posted by German daily Tagesspiegel Thursday showing Athens' proposal to restructure its debt so it falls from the current level of 180 percent of gross domestic product to 93 percent in five years.
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Tsipras appeared to rebuff lender's proposals, however, saying only Greece's ideas were a "realistic" basis for a deal. Tsipras had said earlier this week that a deal was "close" but the latest comments signalled that negotiations could have a while way to go before a mutually viable solution can be found.
The prime minister is due to address the Greek parliament at 6 p.m. (local time) on Friday with the aim of briefing fellow members of parliament on the course of negotiations, Greek newspaper Ekathimerini said Friday.
In a rare bit of good news for Greece – or perhaps just the postponement of bad news – Greece was able to delay a 300 million euro ($338 million) payment due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday.
It informed the Fund on Thursday that it would bundle four payments due this month into one lump payment of 1.5 billion euros, which is due on June 30.
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The IMF confirmed the move in a statement from its chief spokesman Gerry Rice on Thursday, saying the decision was an administrative one.
"Under an executive board decision adopted in the late 1970s, country members can ask to bundle together multiple principal payments falling due in a calendar month (payments of interest cannot be included in the bundle). The decision was intended to address the administrative difficulty of making multiple payments in a short period."
'An issue of credibility'
As the can was kicked further down the road in terms of Greece's deadline for the debt repayments – just a few of many due to the IMF and ECB this summer – Tsipras was again on the phone Thursday night with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
The Greek government said in a press release that the teleconference was "constructive" (fast becoming a buzz word for negotiations, despite the lack of a concrete resolution) but that proposals from lenders could not "constitute the basis of an agreement since it doesn't take into account the negotiation process that took place during the past few months in Brussels."
Rather, Tsipras said, according to the statement, that Greece's proposals "reflect the common ground" established during talks over the last four months.
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Neil Dwane, chief investment officer for Equities for Europe at Allianz Global Investors, said Greece's creditors in Europe needed reassurance that the country was ready to reform before it got a last tranche of aid from its bailout program.
"You've got the Americans -- through the IMF – that are desperate to get a deal done and on the flip side (there are) the major creditors in Europe don't want to give money to an executive they don't trust."
"Merkel wants this off the table but it's simply an issue of credibility, if you give money to this government it will not change anything positively in Greece. There's no executive function that anyone feels has any credibility in Greece."
- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt. Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld