PATRAS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, already looking toward mid-2023 elections said in a visit to Greece’s third-largest city that his New Democracy party will continue to serve alone and has the vision to lead.
That came while touring the Patras-Pyrgos roadworks and the Piros-Parapiros dam in northern Peloponnese, two projects among 80 in the region of Achaia with a budget of more than 3.7 billion euros ($3.81 billion.)
He used the occasion to talk about what he said were his government’s achievements to help households, including having supermarkets set aside 51 essential items in a Household Basket at lower prices.
Mitsotakis said the government had reduced taxes and contributions, raised the minimum wage twice, and subsidized energy without going over the budget restrictions, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA.
He said he’s undeterred by sniping from the major opposition SYRIZA he unseated in July, 2018 snap elections and with polls showing the Conservatives leading by 7.3 percent, down from 14 percent at one point.
He said Greeks prefer a good government that makes mistakes to a wrong government, as they can compare and judge for themelves and that he was sure they would go with him and his party.
The goal, he added, is an independent Greece, led by New Democracy, which he said will lead to national collaboration of all those who believe in the country’s need for drastic modernization.
“Shall we get ahead, or stay behind? Do we need to experience disaster for a second time?” Mitsotakis said with an eye on a rematch with SYRIZA and his belief New Democracy will win outright and not need a coalition party.
That came with the backdrop of the road projects he touted with Deputy Infrastructure Minister Giorgos Karagiannis said on Facebook are three months ahead of schedule.
A dam will provide high-quality drinking water for hundreds of thousands of residents, he added, while a third project of a double railway line (Rododafni-Rio) will allow the trains from Athens to reach the port of Patras.
RUNNING ON FULL
The railway project “will change the image of the entire western Greece and establish Patras as a true entrygate for the entire country,” Mitsotakis said, while reducing travel time between Patras and Athens to two hours.
Nearly 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) of train tracks will be built below ground in Patras, in order to ensure the project qualified for European Union funding,” Mitsotakis also added about plans.
The city will lead Greece toward 2030, he said, with its large projects, the slowing down of demographic loss, the drop of unemployment by 10 percentage points in 2019, and the addition of over 10,000 businesses to Achaia Prefecture, based on the state’s care and the dynamics of the region. Patras and Achaia are vectors of growth. In addition, the construction of the Patras to Pyrgos road will also continue and finish in 2025.
SYRIZA leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras pooh-poohed Mitsotakis’ assertions and told the Larissa newspaper Eleftheria that the Prime Minister has attempted to set up a regime to give “billions of state money to his party friends.”
Tsipras called the prime minister “ruthless and dangerous for the democracy” adding that “he still does not show any remorse,” without providing an explanation about what that meant.
“What is revealed today is a state of decadence that undermined the democracy and the institutional class and as the time passes, we will come across revelations of unprecedented practices for a European democracy in the 21st Century,” Tsipras said and called on people to “participate in the struggle for political change.”
He also criticized Mitsotakis’ handling of Turkish provocations that have seen fighter jets invade Greek airspace and demands that Greece remove troops off Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast and warning of a possible invasion.
“Instead of watching third persons taking decisions on the developments in the eastern Mediterranean, we should take initiatives and extend our territorial waters and open a dialogue with Libya, Egypt and Turkiye for the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf at the Hague. Of course on the condition of Cyprus’ participation in order for this actions to become the catalyst for the Cyprus issue,” Tsipras said.