ATHENS - When this government assumed the effort of "cleaning up the mess others left behind, a mess of decades, we didn't know for sure that we would reach a clearing," Prime Minister and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said at Syntagma Square on Friday, delivering his party's key speech ahead of Sunday's elections.
"It wasn't certain that the loan memoranda would end and the bankrupt economy would revive," he noted, but the government succeeded. "Now we can be the ones to manage our own future and govern based on our own priorities instead of the directives of creditors," Tsipras underlined.
Despite the fiscal suffocation of austerity and loan memoranda, Tsipras said, the government managed to find ways to provide support for the humanitarian crisis in Greece. Some of the initiatives included the sectors of public health, education, welfare, and pensions.
"We went through a modern Odyssey to get here, but despite our adventure we arrived home, whatever the obstacles placed in our path," Tsipras said, referring to the country's completion of its fiscal adjustment programme in August 2018.
Among future plans, the premier mentioned 10,000 hirings in the health sector, 15,000 in schools, supplements to rents for 240,000 Greek families, the reductions of insurance contributions to 13% and of business tax by 1% annually, and the 120 installment plant for taxpayers to meet outstanding obligations in social insurance and tax payments.
But "having a plan is not enough," he said, "it's necessary for the Greek people to decide and to approve of these plans" - Greek people must cast their vote "for the Greece of the many," and for the restoration of injustices wrought by the crisis, he stressed. (Greeks will be voting for European Parliament deputies, regional directors, and local government officials on Sunday, with a second round scheduled on June 2 where necessary.)