In the upcoming local government, regional and, most importantly, the European elections in May 26, Greeks are called upon to show, by voting, the Europe they visualize and want to support in the future, and “decisively answer the dilemma: progress against conservatism, progress against regression,” said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in an interview published in the Saturday edition of Efimerida Ton Syntakton (ESFYN) newspaper.
Despite the fact that main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis rushed to say he would call for a snap national vote if his party New Democracy comes first in the Euro-ballot, “which will not happen,” said Tsipras, it is most apparent that the electoral result, at European level, will determine the continuation of the progressive path SYRIZA carved out in its time, “against those who steered Greece into its crisis, the memoranda, the social tragedy,” he added.
Tsipras elaborated that New Democracy’s right-wing agenda bears the alarming characteristics of autocracy, and “the glorification of law and order as a smoke screen for its antisocial program, as well as the abolition of basic labor rights like eight-hour shifts and five-day working weeks,” and called this political program “the ‘cult’ of the profits of the few, and the indifference to the lives of the many.”
Therefore, said the Greek premier, “this deception set up by Mitsotakis, his affiliated media and some public opinion poll companies, who evangelize New Democracy coming first in the European election, will collapse, and so will their call for an early national vote in Greece,” Tsipras explained, and reiterated that parliamentary elections will be held as scheduled, at the end of the SYRIZA government’s full four-year term.
Tsipras also deciphered Mitsotakis’ continued critique on SYRIZA’s recent legislation of anti-austerity measures as an ephemeral pre-electoral reach-out to voters by saying that the reasoning behind the main opposition’s onslaught against relief measures is that Mitsotakis intends to undo them, “to reverse them so that he can legislate his own harsh memorandum,” he added, and clarified that SYRIZA’s relief measures are permanent, not a bonus, within the flexibility of the state budget, and without burdening the country’s debt.
The prime minister said SYRIZA supports the European Left’s Nico Cue, who is running for the presidency of the European Commission jointly with the Slovene Violeta Tomic, but explained that both SYRIZA and himself personally would support any ‘progressive’ candidate who can stand against the European Peoples’ Party (EPP) candidate Manfred Weber, who, in the past, Tsipras said, “has pushed Greece closer to a Grexit scenario at every chance he had to do so.”
“People have to think about why Mitsotakis supports Weber,” he added.
On Greece-Turkey relations Tsipras said that “despite Turkey’s recent provocative actions in the region, there is no need to demonize Recep Tayyip Erdogan, or hamper Turkey’s EU accession course in any way,” but instead, he explained, Greece should use Turkey’s European perspective as leverage to push for reforms in Turkey, aimed at “democracy, equality and respect for human rights.”
Politics, Tsipras said, is an endless effort to change correlations, and “that means you have to evolve…yet there is one element that will not change as far as the Left is concerned, and this is our devotion to the interests of the workers, the social majority and our home country,” he concluded.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras launched a verbal critique on main opposition party New Democracy and praised the Roma people who attended his Friday evening speech at a public gathering in the city of Trikala in central Greece.
Tsipras began by praising attendees as “not just a victorious stream of people, but a genuinely popular outburst, a democratic outburst, an outbreak of dignity,” and said this was reminiscent of the 2015 SYRIZA referendum rallies, “when we won against everyone who was saying we wouldn’t,” he added.
“Some have called Mitsotakis ‘prime minister’ from the day he was elected New Democracy’s leader, regardless of whether he really posseses the stature of a prime minister or deserves being the president of a historic party,” Tsipras observed.
Commenting on Mitsotakis’ criticism against the benefits legilated by Syriza recently, Tsipras said “Mitsotakis does not know the real value of 100 or 200 euros, what it means to to be on a 300-euro monthly wage.”
The Greek premier then referred to the disbursement of the so-called ’13th pension’, namely a bonus pension wage paid out to pensioners as part of the relief measures bill, saying that “we are proud of this, it was a breath of dignity for pensioners.” He also underlined how his government stuggled to protect and sustain farmers’ compensations, one of the region’s main source of income.
Tsipras said he envisages that “the big victory in the May 26 elections will send a signal both to Greece and to Europe that we are through with the policies of austerity, off with the technocrats determing policy over our heads and how we should redistribute wealth.”
The Greek prime minister went on to conclude by saying that “from now on, we are a sovereign government, with the people’s support, and we will proceed to other deep anti-austerity measures, from the first day after the elections (national elections in Oct.) and through the next four years of our term as government.”
‘I’m not for the
many or the few,
I’m for all Greeks’,
It’s the first time a bonus is granted a few days before elections, main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an interview to Star TV on Friday, criticising the government for reintroducing a supplement to monthly pensions known as the 13th pension.
“The government saw it wasn’t doing well” in terms of the upcoming Europarliament and regional elections on May 26, the New Democracy leader said, noting that bonuses “should be scheduled and included in the state budget, not seen as an attempt to buy votes.”
Mitsotakis charged the government of Alexis Tsipras of “not saying anything about investments and new jobs.” Referring to the delays in the Hellinikon airport investment, he said, “We know how to bring investments to Greece.”
He also called on the government to stop the “politically divisive rhetoric” that brough to mind civil war enmity and asserted, “I’m not for the many or the few, I’m for all – I will be a prime minister of all Greeks.”
Defending his idea of privatisation in health services, the ND leader said the state is obliged to offer public health services, but they do not have to be funded by the state in their entirety.
Mitsotakis accused the government of “having a surplus of taxation, not of growth” and said ND would “return to the middle class what SYRIZA has removed excessively.” He also called out Tsipras for dedicating a large segment of his speeches to personal attacks against him and stressed that “when parliament shuts down and we head to national elections, we can have as many debates as he wishes.”
the gap in the polls
a week before
A week before the European and local elections in Greece, main opposition party conservative New Democracy leads with 6.5% against ruling party SYRIZA. It is worth noting that still a few weeks ago, the gap between ND and SYRIZA was at a double-digit level.
According to a public opinion poll about the european parliament elections conducted by MRB between May 13-16 for daily Ta Nea, the voting intention for ND is at 30% while for SYRIZA is at 23.5%. On third position is Movemebt for Change (KINAL/PASOK) with 6.6%, followed by the far-right Golden Dawn with 6.3%.
Golden Dawn 6.3%
To Potami 2.5%
Centrists’ Union 2.2%
Greek Solution (nationalist) 1,7%
Ecologists Green 1.5%
Independent Greeks ANEL 1,2%
ANTARSYA (far-left) 1%
Other party 4.4%
White / Invalid/ Abstention 4.5%
I don’t know 8.7%
Regarding the victory performance, the split between the two parties is at 46.3%. Specifically, according to the poll, New Democracy accounted for 63.4% while Syriza was at 17.1%.
The poll surveys also the public opinion with regards the government “relief measures” legislated and implemented before the elections.
56.9% expressed a negative opinion for the government and 36.3% a positive one.
In particular, 24.9% responded that they had a very negative or negative opinion about Tsipras’ benefits announcement, while 34.7% said that they had a negative approach.
On the other hand, 20.4% said they had a very positive opinion about the benefits announcement and 15.9% said that they were positive.