ATHENS – Trying to “debunk the myth” the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA champions the poor, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis is visiting working-class neighborhoods.
The Conservative chief started in Athens’ biggest neighborhood, Peristeri, where he went to schools, churches and one of the city’s largest pedestrian walkways, talking to people about what he said is SYRIZA’s fraudulent front.
“SYRIZA’s social sensitivity toward weaker social groups is nothing but a myth,” Mitsotakis said, Kathimerini reported. Since he recently took over, he has taken his party to a growing lead over SYRIZA, which came to power on the back of anti-austerity pledges which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras broke soon after taking office.
His coalition, which includes the marginal, pro-austerity, far-right nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL) just rammed through the Parliament it narrowly controls more austerity and big tax hikes, which Mitsotakis said puts the lie to the Leftists’ claim of supporting the most vulnerable in society.
New Democracy officials said that Mitsotakis’s remarks are trying to “deconstruct” SYRIZA’s image as a socially sensitive party.
“The weakest ones are the ones who are first impacted by the direct taxes, which Parliament will vote through at the weekend,” Mitsotakis said, adding that the government’s measures “will sink the economy and undermine its recovery.”
During his visit to Peristeri, he said the government is “punishing” the few businesses who have managed to survive an economic crisis – which has included New Democracy ruling in a coalition with the PASOK Socialists.
A government statement lashed back at Mitsotakis. “If he wants to be frank with the weak then he must outline what his policies are on pensions, taxes and labor laws.