THESSALONIKI – Holding big leads in polls, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has again called for early elections, saying the Conservatives would free Greeks of the Radical Left SYRIZA that has pounded them with yet more austerity.
Mitsotakis said snap polls would “liberate” the country from the reign of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who repeatedly broke his word to end pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and halt the sale of state assets, among among pledge he reneged on.
In an interview with three radio stations during a visit to Thessaloniki, Mitsotakis described leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as “pathetic” and his administration as the worst since the restoration of democracy in 1974.
“He is already history, he has absolutely nothing to say to the Greek people,” Mitsotakis said of Tsipras, whom he called “a Prime Minister in decline” and accused of “dividing and polarizing” the country.
He also ripped Tsipras for visiting the refugee-and-migrant overrun island of Lesbos only with the protection of hundreds of police officers that his office said weren’t there to guard him but to look out for extreme-right members who had attacked refugees and migrants in the main city square of Mytilene in April.
Movement for Change leader Fofi Gennimata also said she wanted early elections with the national polls not scheduled now until October, 2019. She leads a center-left coalition of several marginalized parties led by her former PASOK Socialists who became defunct after supporting austerity measures while serving New Democracy in a previous coalition.
In a letter to Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis, she said elections should be held before three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($390.47 billion) end in August.
Tsipras said there will be a “clean exit” without additional conditions although he had already agreed to more pension cuts and new taxes on low-and-middle income families set for 2020 or even 2019.
But his own Finance Minister, Marxist economist Euclid Tsakalotos, disputed him and said that the country’s creditors, the Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-IMF-ECB-ESM) will keep a check on the economy for years
The lenders essentially said they don’t trust Tripras not to backtrack on reforms to save himself and SYRIZA from what surveys show will be a pounding in the next elections and as party members have been reaching out to Movement for Change for a potential new partner, dissatisfied with Kammenos and ANEL.
Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas, a close aide to Tsipras, Friday suggested that snap polls would put the completion of Greece’s final bailout program at risk.
“You say that we should leave now, even before the constitutional revision, even if this puts the smooth completion of the program at risk,” he said in a shot at New Democracy.
“You cannot stand hearing the positive messages coming from Europe, that the economy is recovering, that joblessness is falling and employment is rising,” he remarked, putting another SYRIZA spin on what other analysts said is the country’s continuing inability to deal with a number of crises and as Tsipras has said the debt can’t be repaid without some form of restructuring.