ATHENS – Greece’s major opposition leader, New Democracy’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said it will be the country’s young who must bring about change and create a new start.
With the country locked in a seven-year-long-and-counting economic crisis that has seen more tha 50 percent of those under 25 unable to find work, Mitsotakis has pledged he would not again impose more austerity as his party did under other leadership in a previous ruling coalition.
The Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition has reneged on anti-austerity promises to stay in power since January, 2015 and New Democracy, under Mitsotakis, has taken leads of 15 percent in surveys although elections aren’t due until 2019.
As Administrative Reform Minister, Mitsotakis fired thousands of public workers without giving them reviews as promised but – as did SYRIZA while out of power – says he too now opposes what he did and won’t do it again.
He reached out to the young – those who are still in the country and not living and working elsewhere now – to be the catalyst for change that his party and SYRIZA didn’t bring about, although he didn’t say how that could be done in a clientelist state that discourages the young, holds down entrepreneurs and pushes cronies into key positions of power.
He made his comments while attending events in Rethymno, Crete celebrating the start of Greece’s 1821 War of Independence on March 25.
“Today, precisely 196 years ago, Greeks began a difficult struggle for freedom, independence and justice. Today, we honour their memory and take strength from their example. We are not, however, trapped only in a glorious past. We are well aware that it is the obligation of our generation to successfully bring about a new national start. With unity, concord and absolute respect for the values of our ancestors, the values of our nation,” he said without offering any specific programs or ways to do any of that.