ATHENS – Still holding big leads in polls ahead of the May 26 Greek municipal and European Parliament elections, and for the general elections this year, major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said if elected he would cut taxes hiked by the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, sell of state assets and bring back foreign investors.
In an interview with the Bloomberg financial news agency he said he would implement reforms that weren’t specified and lower fiscal targets, if he could get the agreement of the country’s international creditors who will be reviewing the economy for years.
Three bailouts of 326 billion euros ($365.6 billion) ended on Aug. 20, 2018, some eight years after they had begun, but apart from a 10-billion euro ($11.21 billion) test bond sale that sold at interest rates three times higher, Greece hasn’t returned to the markets yet.
Noting an avalanche of new taxes and hikes imposed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the Conservative leader said, “This is an overtaxed economy… you cannot grow this (Greek) economy with the current tax burden it as a very conscious decision taken by the SYRIZA government to over-tax the middle class; I want to return to the middle class what the SYRIZA government took from them unnecessarily,” he told the financial news agency, in a direct criticism of hard left SYRIZA’s four years in power.
He named a number of privatization efforts that have been stymied, including a 600-million euro ($672.88 million) overhaul of the port of Piraeus by the Chinese company COSCO which operates it now.