Greek Parliament Dissolved Ahead of May 21 Elections, PM Mitsotakis Addresses Nation

ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece has presented the Cabinet’s request for Parliament to be dissolved to the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Mitsotakis said to the President, “good morning. Madam President, I have the pleasure to deliver to you the Cabinet’s act recommending the dissolution of parliament and the calling of national elections on May 21, four weeks from now. This is required by the relevant articles of the Constitution, Article 41, but in essence the government has effectively exhausted its term of office. I had committed from the outset that this must be done,” – not calling early snap elections – “because I believe that this is what the institutional continuity of the state requires. So that the citizens, too, can evaluate the whole of our government’s term of office in the forthcoming elections and act accordingly and make their decisions.”

The Prime Minister: “Elections are a great celebration of democracy. What I wish for as the election period begins is that there will be a fruitful debate of so that citizens can judge soberly who should govern them for the next four years. We must stay away from toxic [rhetoric] and extreme attitudes that I think are not in keeping with the general climate of the times and are not in tune with the overall mood of society. Finally, I hope that the electoral period will be a springboard for the maximum participation of citizens in the great democratic process, which is the national elections. And I am addressing especially [members] of the young generation… who will be voting for the first time. Participation in elections is a bet [on the future placed by] all of us, [enabling us] to participate in the decisions that will be taken for our own future.”

Further excerpts from the Prime Minister’s speech follow:

“My fellow citizens. “You are well aware of the successive external crises that our country has experienced and overcome over the past few years: first, the migratory invasions on the Evros. Then, the global pandemic. Later, the war in Ukraine. The energy crisis and global inflation. And, daily, the challenges to the Nation of an unpredictable neighbor like Turkey.

In the face of all this, our economy and society have stood firm. And not only, because through prudent management, the state supported workers and businesses, reducing, at the same time, 50 kinds of taxes and contributions. Increasing, for the first time in 12 years, pensions. And by raising the minimum wage from 650 to 780 euros.

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, center, arrives for a meeting with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou at the Presidential palace, in Athens, Saturday, April 22, 2023. Mitsotakis visited the Greek President to officially announce a general election on May 21. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

“In the same period, almost 300,000 new jobs were created and the assessment of our national economy was upgraded 12 times, so that the country is now very close to regaining investment grade status. This development will, in turn, means cheaper borrowing for the Hellenic Republic, for businesses, and for our households.

“This national objective, combined with the need for strong representation of the country internationally, requires political stability over a four-year horizon….Because Greece needs a clear perspective on its course and clear solutions from its leadership.

“Men and women of Greece, I am sure that we all understand the importance of these moments, as our country has gone from being a laggard to being a leading player in Europe. It is showing a dynamic growth rate but also the largest reduction in unemployment and public debt on the continent. At the same time, it is recording continuous records in terms of investment, exports, and tourism revenues.

“Our society is paying lower taxes and ENFIA – and the Solidarity Levy has been abolished. And, in effect, Parental Benefits have been made free. Society’s weakest are being supported. And, after the increases in electricity rates, the state is constantly erecting dikes against imported inflation. In other words, Greece is responding to international challenges and conquering national needs.

In four years, despite the difficulties, much has been achieved. But much more remains to be done. I know that, despite positive steps, wages in our country are still low. The Public Health System still has wounds to heal. Our state needs to become more efficient. Our young people need more support. These, precisely, will be our priorities in our new mandate.

“Greece must also establish itself as a geostrategic and energy power. By shielding its borders from migration and any other dangers, and by strengthening its voice, which is now heard everywhere: in the U.S. Congress, in Brussels, and in all major capitals. Believe me, I am well aware of the difficulties but also of the successes we have had in this field.

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, second right, leaves the Presidential palace following a meeting with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, in Athens, Saturday, April 22, 2023. Mitsotakis visited the Greek President to officially announce a general election on May 21. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

This is particularly important on an uncertain and unstable planet. The difficulties may seem to be behind us, but I assure you: there will be no shortage of difficulties. Therefore, political stability becomes a national necessity and the path of progress is the only way forward for the country – this is therefore, the decisive criterion for our vote tomorrow.

“My fellow citizens, I share with you my thoughts on today’s institutional process. With the sincerity I have been speaking to you for four years. And with the peace of mind that I have been true to my duty. Without hiding behind the bad moments, which must become fewer and fewer. And noting the good ones, which we must make more of.

“In July 2019, I did not promise miracles but a plan and hard work, with concrete commitments that in 2023 are now a tangible reality. So that, today, I feel more experienced and more confident. Because I know the problems better. But above all, I know better the strengths of the country. The ones that arm us all with a new confidence.

“So, as we head towards the elections, I can look you in the eye with optimism about tomorrow. As long as we stick together. Away from the lies, the mud, and the empty slogans that will besiege us again. And recognizing how crucial the May 21 ballot is. To keep moving forward together. Steadfast – with boldness. Forward!”


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