New York.- (GreekNewsOnline)
Party leaders concluded their campaign on Friday with large political rallies in Athens and other major cities, ahead of Sunday’s snap elections. Latest polls give the conservative New Democracy party at least 10 percent lead over the ruling leftist Syriza. Alls polls show ND to gain the majority in the Greek Parliament and form a government.
The stakes involved in the Sunday national elections are high and “Greeks will decide on their lives, their future and their dignity,” said Prime Minister and SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras, speaking at his main pre-electoral rally at Syntagma Square, on Friday evening, ahead of the Sunday vote.
Tsipras said that main opposition New Democracy “wants to erase the moments of national pride and dignity Greeks lived right here four years ago,” referring to the January 2015 national elections and the bailout referendum held by SYRIZA on July 5, 2015.
“I heard (ND leader Kyriakos) Mitsotakis being ironic towards people who were here at this square four years ago,” said Tsipras, and added that “they cannot get over that night when fear was crushed.”
He said that “the technocrats of the troika (Greece’s creditors) do not decide about us anymore,” and that “we are here, free and proud, because we averted the impoverishment of our people.”
The Prime Minister noted that SYRIZA “is again asking for the people’s mandate to continue,” and said it will be “the first time to be judged on our own program,” for a Greece, he stressed, that is “contemporary, free, self-sustained, dominant and progressive.”
The SYRIZA leader said that 400,000 new jobs have been created since 2015, and added that “we took over a country in which one million people had lost their job in five years,” yet we “raised the minimum wage, restored the collective labor agreements, and tackled undeclared work.”
“”We are today in the ninth consecutive trimester of (national) growth,” added Tsipras, and highlighted that “‘foreign investments are at a ten-year high, while exports, industrial production and tourism are all performing excellently.”
Tsipras also stressed the steps taken to strengthen Greece’s role in Europe, the Balkans and the northeastern Mediterranean, and said that “‘we ask for a mandate that will see an even stronger Greece, in Europe and the world, a Greece that builds alliances (…) a Greece that no one can blackmail, or violate its sovereign rights in the Aegean Sea or the Mediterranean.”
In an interview for national broadcaster ERT, Alexis Tsipras said that despite heavy losses in the recent European elections “the tables are turning” in favor of his party. The Syriza leader said that up to now the main opposition “was saying that tax relief will bring growth, whereas now it says a 4 pct growth will have to precede tax relief,” and added that what Mistotakis considers as growth, he considers to be a “tsunami of deregulations.”
ND’s plan to channel supplementary insurance through the private sector will lead to a “social insurance black hole,” which in turn will see pensions cut even more, said Tsipras, a plan also favored by the International Monetary Fund but averted by Syriza.
He also noted that the main opposition can only make room for tax reductions if it cuts down on welfare costs and public spending.
Tsipras urged Greek youth to reverse the odds on Sunday, and vote “for ‘its life and its future,” as it did in 2015, when it sent a similar message of “‘national dignity.”
His government’s first priority will be to create “many new good jobs and to support the middle class, destroyed by the current government through excessive taxation,” New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday, during a brief tour of northern Greece prior to Sunday’s general elections.
The main opposition leader added, “If I have a responsibility, besides putting the country back on a prosperity track, it is to unite Greeks under a common vision and a common plan,” which is to leave behind all years of the crisis and “take a leap into the future.”
“We are each ready to take the fate of our country into our hands,” Mitsotakis said, asking voters to give him their vote. A strong mandate, he said, will allow him to negotiate with Brussels for reduced primary surpluses, reduce taxes, and negotiate for the best possible Common Agricultural Policy for Greece.
“I cannot discount the election result. It would be arrogant to tell citizens that elections are over. We don’t know what parties will enter the parliament and whether there will be a strong mandate,” main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday in an interview with ANT1 TV.
He underlined that we have to reduce surplus targets and restore credibility. “Markets have already reacted positively and show that they trust us. Debt will be repaid by growth and not over-taxation. I believe that I can persuade our partners for the reduction of the primary surplus targets,” he said.
Mitsotakis reiterated that there is no much room for tolerance and we will move into practice as of the following day. “We have the potential to create new prosperity, prosperity for all,” he stressed.
“Entrepreneurs realize that the success of a business goes through the happiness of the employees,” he noted and added: “I want entrepreneurs to give shares to employees. I will give them motivation to do so.”
“We will be strict in the implementation of labour law,” he underlined.
Mitsotakis promised that social benefits will not be abolished. “Our first priority will be to boost the minimum guarantee income,” he stressed.
Regarding North Macedonia, he said that the name issue was settled because it was part of a broader discussion with the partners. He also said that he would never sign such an agreement concessing the Macedonian identity and language.
However, Mitsotakis pledged to work in order to correct the bad consequences of this agreement.
Movement of Change (Kinima Allagis, KINAL) leader Fofi Gennimata accused Prime Minister and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras of trying again to harm KINAL.
“He believes that he can continue deceiving the citizens,” she said during her visit on Friday to the plastics company Mornos in Schimatari.
Gennimata met with the employees and noted that a useful vote for the labour issues is a vote for KINAL. “We are the counterweight against New Democracy policies,” she said adding that the workers in each business should have a share from their participation in the effort for the enhancement of competitiveness.”
Communist Party (KKE) leader in an interview with NEA newspaper on Friday said that the next day of the national elections the people need a strong KKE, the only force that can stand against the new government and the antipopular policies and to give the battle inside and outside the parliament.
Koutsoumbas said that the people must understand how crucial is this electoral battle which mostly focuses on how strong will be KKE, that’s why any vote for KKE should be lost”.
He sternly attacked SYRIZA saying that it slandered that values and ideals of the Left and cultivated the impression the there is no alternative way for the people except today’s barbarism.