ATHENS – Holding big leads over the major opposition SYRIZA he ousted in 2019, Greek Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis reportedly said there won't be an early election in the autumn to take advantage of his popularity.
While that would extend his term if he won, he said he will stay the course through the end of his administration and take it to July 2023 elections, four years after he routed the Leftists under Alexis Tsipras, who paid the price for breaking anti-austerity vows.
Mitsotakis, despite repeated sniping from his rival, has consistently won high marks for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and has begun to bring back a staggering economy with further easing of a lenient lockdown.
But he said he wants to be judged on his overall record, according to Kathimerini, and not just crisis management although he's reportedly getting advice to jolt his opponents again with Tsipras unable to make a dent against him.
Supporters of an early election also argue that a return to near normal-life in 2022 could hurt the government if people no longer feel a sense of sticking together for a common good.
They're said to want an election in September which would, if he won, take Mitsotakis' government into 2025 and reap the benefit of people coming off summer vacations and freeing themselves of the terror of the Coronavirus as vaccinations ramp up.
Those who want early elections, the paper said, think another rout of SYRIZA would end Tsipras' reign as the leftists leader and even take down the party, leaving New Democracy without any real rivals, a dynasty creator.
The former dominant PASOK Socialists are already defunct, their veterans now leading a shrunken center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) party that is politically irrelevant with some in New Democracy thinking it could lean toward the center-right unless Tsipras holds on.
There's also reportedly talk of yet another Cabinet mini-reshuffle ahead of the annual Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in September that was shut down in 2020 as the pandemic raged, an event that sees the country's leader give what is essentially a State of the State address and the limelight for him.