ATHENS – Besieged on a number of fronts – from the waning COVID-19 pandemic to record inflation and a spying scandal – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will use the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) to talk about his achievements instead.
He will give the keynote address there on Sept. 10 at an event where the country’s rulers traditionally announce handouts – he will as well – and use it as a showcase for a captive audience.
The criticism of his Conservative government has become louder and longer in what will be the run-up to elections in 2023 that promise to be aggressive and will likely see either a coalition or a second poll because of changes in election laws brought by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.
That removed a 50-seat bonus in the 300-member Parliament for whichever party wins, making it unlikely anyone can, given how fractured the political landscape is and number of those seeking to get in.
Mitsotakis earlier said he wouldn’t call snap polls as he also tries to deal with rising provocations from Turkey that bring occasional fears of a conflict, and the European Union denouncing the phone tapping of PASOK Socialist leader Nikos Androulakis, also a Member of the European Parliament and with a financial journalist also surveilled.
“The Prime minister is not listening to the early election scenarios,” close associates not named told the newspaper Kathimerini, which leans toward the government’s positions.
They said going ahead with snap polls during the current heated atmosphere would see him vulnerable although he maintains a shrinking lead, now down to under 7 percent, over SYRIZA.
Citing reports, the paper said that Mitsotakis plans to use his speech to talk about a hard winter looming and rising energy prices caused largely by the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It was said he will compare and contrast his government, which has been luring foreign investors and accelerating an economic recovery, to the former ruling anti-business SYRIZA and its leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras, who reneged on virtually every promise he made.
Mitsotakis will focus on the economy and tax cuts, compared to SYRIZA increasing taxes and hurting the poor and middle class the Leftists proclaimed to want to protect.
The Prime Minister reportedly will also talk about how his government had taken the country’s public services into the digital age from being bureaucratic, offices relying on paper records, and his handling of the ongoing numbers of refugees and migrants still coming, his government denying pushback allegations.