Dealing with Turkey, COVID-19, Mitsotakis Says No Snap Elections


Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis listen while SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras speaks in Greek Parliament. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS - Trying to cope with Turkish provocations and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis - comfortably ahead in polls - said there won’t be snap elections.

He said his government would complete its four-year term that began when he ousted the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of then-premier Alexis Tsipras, now the major opposition leader whose popularity keeps plunging.

“No, 2021 will not be an election year. The government enjoys a comfortable parliamentary majority,” he told Greek television channel ANT1, although New Democracy has 158 of the 300 seats, not a large majority.

Tsipras has kept sniping at Mitsotakis for the government’s handling of the pandemic, especially a surging second wave that came after the Prime Minister admitted he waited too long to bring a second lockdown.

The premier also had earlier said there would be millions of doses of a vaccine coming but less than 100,000 arrived in a first batch and the campaign rolling out a scheme to provide shots to millions of people has been slow.

He said by the end of March that health authorities will have received about four million does although health officials said 70 percent of the population of more than 10.5 million, or more than 7.35 million is needed to be effective.

He said the goal is to inoculate two million people over the next 10 weeks although that falls far short of what’s needed to be effective in reining in the pandemic, his board of doctors and scientists has said.

His attention is also on trying to handle Turkey’s plans to drill for energy off Greek islands with proposed negotiations over competing claims to the Aegean and East Mediterranean in Constantinople for Jan. 25 now up in the air.

“There should be no activity inside the Greek exclusive economic zone and the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean as the subject of discussion,” he said.

“It is better to talk within a specific context than not to talk at all,” he also added, according to Kathimerini.