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Politics

Mitsotakis Wants Mandate, Rivals Eye Relevance in European Elections

ATHENS – With an eye on high food prices, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asked voters in the June 6-9 European Parliament elections to back his efforts to accelerate an economic recovery while his opponents hoped to make gains.

The New Democracy government said supermarket prices are the biggest problem facing Greeks, although his administration has fined multinationals and domestic companies who are profiteering.

He told Real News in an interview that proposals from the major opposition SYRIZA which is floundering in polls wouldn’t work, dismissing the Leftists call to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) as high as 24 percent on some food products.

“I never reject anything a priori, even if it comes from SYRIZA. Reading the positions of the main opposition, however, I can tell you a posteriori that these lead with mathematical precision to bankruptcy once more,” he said.

He accused the main opposition party of “changing its leader but not its mindset” and continuing a populist approach of empty promises, referring to Greek-American businessman Stefanos Kasselakis taking over the Leftists helm in 2023

Mitsotakis acknowledged that high food prices are a problem and said the answer is higher salaries and more welfare handouts to the most vulnerable, Greeks among the lowest paid and highest taxed in the European Union.

He got European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen – a friend – to agree to look into profit margins of multinationals but said that the government can’t afford to lower taxes on food despite what looks to be another record tourism year.

He said his goal is for New Democracy – which got 40.79 percent of the vote in June 23 national elections – to get 33 percent while Kasselakis aims for 20 percent for SYRIZA, which got 17.83 percent last year when Alexis Tsipras was its leader.

Nikos Androulakis, leader of the PASOK-KINAL Socialists who are jockeying for second with SYRIZA in polls, told the newspaper Macedonia that he believes his party will fare well in the elections and make further inroads.

“I am certain that PASOK will be on the shore of the winners on June 9 as well, whether the comparison is made with the previous European Parliament elections or the general elections of 2023. Our upward course in recent years, which will become stronger, will be converted to a governmental trajectory by the next general elections,” he said.

KKE Communist leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas, campaigning in the working class Athens neighborhood of Kolonos, asked for voters’ support and said, “The people are now well aware that there are no saviors … that no governmental stability, nor any governmental change, is going to change their life as long as there no real blows to the policy that sacrifices their rights for the profits of the few. This is the system and this is the EU of exploitation, wars and injustice,” he said.

He urged voters to join “the thousands who have already chosen the path of struggle, disobedience and walking alongside the KKE,” and to reject Capitalist growth, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia news agency AMNA.

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