ATHENS – Marking the 48th anniversary of the founding of New Democracy, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said no other party had to endure so many difficulties and challenge in the country and that it’s the only one which can lead the country.
Since taking office in July, 2019 snap elections in routing the Radical Left SYRIZA, which reneged on virtually all its vows, the Conservatives have faced the COVID-19 pandemic, soaring inflation, Turkish threats, and an energy crisis.
He told a meeting of his Parliamentary Group those have been beaten back because of his policies – despite continued sniping from SYRIZA leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras, and with elections coming in mid-2023.
He noted that at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in his keynote address he noted the issues that threatened to overwhelm his government but which were beaten back by his administration.
“If not us, then who will undertake the fate of the country,” Mitsotakis wondered, explaining: “I do not say this with arrogance, but the opposition will have to explain what alternative it proposes,” the state’s Athens-Macedonia News Agency reported.
“The ship of the nation requires a strong steersman and a tested crew. We raise the glove and say a strong national vessel means a self-reliant Greece and a strong New Democracy in the governance of the country,” he said.
Looking ahead to a campaign and another showdown with SYRIZA, which is trailing by 8.4 percent in a recent survey, he said that, “the first election” – there are like to be at least two next year – “has the weight of the final ballot and will be the foundation of options for tomorrow.”
That was in reference to SYRIZA in its waning days passing legislation removing a 50-seat bonus for the winner of elections, making it almost impossible for a single party to form a government.
That means a second round of balloting if a coalition can’t be formed, the subsequent election giving a winning party a better chance of taking control without the need for a partner.
“No government has faced so many obstacles in such a short time. And yet, despite the adversities, the country is moving forward and is a leading actor in developments in Europe, supporting the income of households and businesses, and we do all this without undermining the future,” he said.
An energy crisis with soaring prices, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and uncertainty about supplies could mean a dark and cold time coming for many households, this winter however, thought they will be propped up with 9 billion euros ($8.9 billion) in subsides.
“We have a difficult winter ahead of us and we have an obligation to ensure that the citizens’ anxiety does not become a flirtation with demagoguery,” Mitsotakis said.
Firing away at SYRIZA, which now calls itself a Progressive Alliance and no longer ‘radical’, he said that, “the opposition is catastrophizing about everything, inventing non-existent power cuts and talking about a violation of [university grounds] asylum laws when the Greek police arrest gangs in the student residences. In short, it is selling expensive lies at a cheap price.”
He also said that, “when Mr. Tsipras said that if he had 50 billion euros he would govern until he was bored, this was the most vulgar and cynical old-party logic, which has now been condemned.”