ATHENS – Major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis won’t accept Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras’ challenge to debate before the May 26 European Parliament elections as the parties vie to have their candidates elected.
“After Alexis Tsipras calls a general election we will have as many debates as he wants,” New Democracy spokesperson Sofia Zacharaki told News 24/7 radio station, reiterating her party’s call for Tsipras to have snap elections instead of waiting until October when they would be required to be held..
During a SYRIZA party rally Tsipras dared Mitsotakis to debate on TV, and mocking him as someone who’s “always coming second and in a sweat” in television appearances. Tsipras has frantically been trying to regain favor after plummeting in polls for more than four years of reneging on anti-austerity vows.
“I can recommend a way for him to also get ratings that would be suitable to a leader of the main opposition party: show up for a face-to-face confrontation with me, without the Autocue, without notes,” Tsipras said, according to Kathimerini.
Despite surveys showing his candidates for European Union lawmakers are nine points down, he said they will win, similar to his disbelief in polls for the general elections as he said he will win re-election despite breaking essentially all of his 2015 campaign vows.
“We the forces of progress and democracy have not had our final say. We will not allow the far right and neoliberalism to do sweep through Europe,” Tsipras told the audience, adding that SYRIZA’s ticket for the European elections consists of people who are “jewels in their country, in their work and in their social environment.”
A poll by the firm Pulse gave New Democracy a 31-22 percent edge over SYRIZA candidates for the European Parliament where seats are apportioned in a body that is relatively powerless to affect genuine policy throughout the bloc.
The results were presented by Athens-based SKAI broadcaster, which Tsipras has declared an enemy of his party because it won’t support their agenda and policies.