ATHENS – With his advisors and Cabinet said to be split, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he will not call snap elections and will serve out his four-year term into the spring of 2023.
There’s been talk openly among some ministers that he should call the polls now with the prospect of record inflation – despite economic growth and what could be record tourism spending – hitting Greek households hard.
Major opposition SYRIZA leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras, who was unseated in July, 2019 elections, has been sniping constantly at his rival’s handling of the economy, COVID-19 pandemic and backing of Ukraine over Russia’s invasion, as well as growing Turkish provocations.
Read more: PM Mitsotakis: I Will Not Jeopardise the Country’s Stability to Serve My Political Interests
The two clashed in Parliament, veering off other topics to spar about their differences and the idea of elections that Tsipras said he wants despite being behind by about 8 points in recent polls.
“I have proclaimed many, many times that elections will be held at the end of the four-year term, despite the fact that many rumors may be circulating,” Mitsotakis said, noting his concern “that we will continue for several more months in a climate of intense toxicity,” said Kathimerini.
He stressed: “Things may indeed get very bad in the coming months. We may find ourselves in situations, especially in the gas market, which are unprecedented,” but said he will stay the course now.
Read more: Mitsotakis Will End Solidarity Tax, Raise Pensions: SYRIZA Says “Lies”
Tsipras again called for snap polls and said that, “The dilemma of the ballot box will be very simple: political change and the nightmare over or nightmare without end,” he noted, calling Mitsotakis a “factor of instability.”
Mitsotakis, trying to steer away from the political angle, said the next election will be about who can best deal with the multiple challenges, as signs show that the pandemic could return hard again.
He also told SKAI TV that, “I’m taking the risk of stability. If this means paying the political cost because of a difficult winter, so be it,” and that he’s willing to risk it.
“I am not looking for a sunny clearing in the opinion polls to call early elections,” he said, although some advisors want him to thwart any chance of SYRIZA rising.
He said the country needs a single-party leadership, noting that a law passed by SYRIZA in its waning days ended a 50-seat bonus for whomever wins an election, all but guaranteeing a second election and perhaps a coalition.
“I am determined to assume any cost, but I will not jeopardize the country’s stability at the service of party interests,” he said after the verbal battle in Parliament where he resisted the call for early elections yet again.