ATHENS – Battered in the polls by the rising New Democracy major opposition, Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras accused the Conservatives of “pursuing a far-right agenda”.
Tsipras said New Democracy was trying to link the ongoing refugee crisis he was blamed for mismanaging with the threat of terrorism, with which SYRIZA has been criticized for allegedly having sympathies.
“You are taking a xenophobic line… Your intention is to go fishing in the murky waters of a far-right pool,” Tsipras said during a parliamentary debate on security, which was requested by New Democracy, Kathimerini said, charging that the Conservative’s new leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is playing to his party’s hard right.
Under Mitsotakis, New Democracy has been re-energized and recent surveys showed it has taken a 5.5 percent lead over SYRIZA as Tsipras is under seige by the twin crisis of refugees and the faltering economy.
Earlier this month, the former leader of the ultra-nationalist LAOS party, Giorgos Karatzaferis, and ex-cabinet secretary Panayiotis Baltakos, who served former Premier and then New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, started a new nationalist party, National Unity.
The new party leaders were said to be trying to position themselves between New Democracy and the super-extremist far-right Golden Dawn, whose leaders and dozens of members are being charged with running a criminal gang, which they deny.