ATHENS – Facing rabid criticism for his handling of a surging second wave of COVID-19, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will give rival political parties a chance to sound off in person with him.
The New Democracy leader admitted waiting too long to bring a second lockdown which saw cases, deaths and the number of people on ventilators in public hospitals soar, the major rival SYRIZA holding him personally accountable.
Instead of letting his political critics snipe from the sidelines, he has planned to bring them together with him Jan. 15 so they can give their ideas on what to do as vaccines are being rolled out, politicians going to the head of the line already.
Government spokesman Christos Tarantilis said the meeting answered a call from SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and that it will be held in public in Parliament so that “every party can submit its proposals in the open, and not behind closed doors.”
“Dealing with the pandemic requires honest and realistic proposals. We look forward to them,” Tarantilis told a press briefing after Tsipras met with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and requested that she call a meeting of political leaders.
Tarantilisaccused Tsipras of ignorance in calling for Greece to take the initiative at the European Union level so vaccine patents would be released and produced domestically or finding other sources elsewhere, said Kathimerini.
“We would expect Mr. Tsipras to be better informed so that his arguments, especially following the meeting with the president, are more precise,” Tarantilis said.
“We inform him that the EU’s 27 member-states have agreed to work together for the purchase of the vaccinations and are not allowed to act unilaterally in this matter, as he demands… does he propose that we violate this joint European agreement? That would certainly be detrimental to the country,” he added.