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Politics

SYRIZA Says New Democracy Rule Making People’s Lives Worse

ATHENS – Greek elections won’t be coming until mid-2023 but a de fact campaign is already underway with the major opposition SYRIZA lashing out at the New Democracy government, claiming it’s put people in a financial predicament.

“The growth in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has not been translated into an improvement of citizens’ lives. On the contrary, their financial situation is constantly worsening and their daily life becoming ever harsher,” SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance Member of Parliament  Efi Achtsioglou told Real FM radio.

While Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis noted estimates of 6 percent growth during the waning COVID-19 pandemic, she said that, “more people are entering the poverty spectrum and inequality is increasing, while wealth is concentrated in (oligopolies,) painting him as elitist.

“Households with an income of up to 750 euros  ($778 monthly) have lost up to 40 percent of their purchasing power,” she said, talking of a “mix of highly compressed incomes and extreme prices,” during high inflation.

While the government put up 9 billion euros ($9.34 billion) in aid to pay 90 percent of electricity bills for households that doubled over the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has not moved to cut a 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food.

She noted that the 2023 draft budget shows that VAT revenues will be 4 billion euros ($4.15 billion) higher, largely because prices have spiked so much even for essential food stuffs.

She claimed the government was then converting these revenues into subsidies that were again directed at energy producers which she said was a vicious circle of profiteering squeezing households and benefiting the rich.

The government pressed supermarkets into creating a so-called Household Basket of 51 items where prices would be held down to make them more affordable but she scoffed at that.

SYRIZA also said it wants a  cap on profits in power production to control the main factor that was driving up prices, as well as lower VAT on food and lower tax on fuel to help households taking a beating.

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