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Politics

With Elections Coming, Mitsotakis Rolling Out More Handouts

February 14, 2023

ATHENS – Ahead of Greece’s spring elections, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that farmers would be getting extra benefits, as would pensioners who didn’t qualify for increases.

He said that “spring elections will once again give New Democracy the opportunity to continue the important work we have done,” anticipating a victory for his ruling Conservatives although changes in electoral laws brought earlier by the former ruling SYRIZA could require two ballots.

“I am sure that the citizens will trust us again, because the citizens see, judge and compare,” he said, and that his party “is the great popular social faction of the country, it is the faction that puts social justice into practice.”

He accused opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras, of “divisive speech”and noted: “We have a plan for the Greece of the future while some others insist on dividing and talking about the alleged abolition of democracy,” said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNA.

With some pensioners getting benefit hikes as low as 74 cents a month because of a “personal difference” between theirs and others in terms of the monthly stipend, Mitsotakis said those excluded would get a one-time bonus.

That would affect about 140,000 pensioners who didn’t get any increase or additional benefit even though many were receiving only modest monthly payments from the state.

Most pensioners saw a 7.75 percent increase, the first in more than a decade after benefits were held down during an economic crisis that brought austerity measures attached to 326 billion euros ($350.63 billion) in three international bailouts.

The number of final beneficiaries for the handout for those excluded will also determine the amount of the benefit, seen to be up to 300 euros ($322.67) while others who qualified for monthly hikes will be paid for life.

There were 910,000 pensioners who, due to the existence of a personal difference in their main pensions, did not receive any increase in 2023 nor a Christmas bonus inflation check.

It’s because their pensions are more than 800 euros ($860.44) a month during a time of soaring inflation, rents spiking and food prices jumping, including a 24 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on food.

Around 40,000 pensioners will receive an advance payment of 100 euros ($107.56) by March 15 for their supplementary pension, and even retroactively for as long as it has elapsed since the issue of the main pension.

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