Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was in Kifissia today as part of his campaign for the upcoming elections. In his speech, he asked citizens to vote for independence and launched an attack on opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, whom he accused of lying to the citizens.
"New Democracy is with May Day and Mr. Tsipras is with April Fool's Day. Nothing but lies. It's one month behind," stated Mitsotakis emphatically, noting that the opposition party SYRIZA program costs more than 70 billion and is leading to a new bankruptcy in the country."
The prime minister noted that the ND program is fully costed and does not violate the fiscal balance, while he emphasised that the victory of the ruling party again in the elections will lead to the achievement of the investment grade.
"The country will acquire investment grade the day after the ND wins the elections. Because we need a stable and efficient government that will continue the work with a costed program," he said.
"2023 is not 2015. The citizens suffered and learned. They don't want the calamity a second time, they will give a second order to the advance," added the prime minister.
He also pledged that the next 4 years with the ND government will be the 4 years with better salaries.
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For his part, Tsipras vociferously attacked the government and Mitsotakis.
"SYRIZA must the party that comes first [in the elections] in order for change to come; there cannot be change without SYRIZA in first place," he said.
Discussing his decision to run in Serres, he said the resignation of former transport minister Kostas Karamanlis after the deadly Tempi accident was "hypocritical" given that Karamanlist was made the New Democracy candidate for Serres just 40 days later. Tsipras said his decision to run against Karamanlis was "clearly symbolic... showing that politics is not an affair of families, scions and big houses," and reflected "my decision to not allow this crime to be forgotten".
He called on the prime minister to explain "how Karamanlis has a hold on him" and why the railways had been allowed to sink into such a state of decline.
Noting that justice was prosecuting the head of the Hellenic Railways Organisation and two senior staff responsible for the appointment and illegal transfer of the station master that caused the accident, Tsipras said the prime minister and Karamanlis "have an obligation to reveal for whom this favour was done."
The party leader also stressed that the failure to fix the damage caused to the Larisa railway telemanagement system by a fire in 2019.
Regarding the upcoming elections using simple proportional representation, he said that SYRIZA was asking for first place, so that it can form a lasting, stable progressive government "and bring the country out of the tragedy of these four years."
According to Tsipras, the first and third parties in the elections "will be able to form a government" and, regarding the PASOK party's expressed objections to himself as prime minister, he noted that "between what is said before the elections and after the elections, intervenes the people's vote."
Tsipras warned that a coalition government cannot be formed by the second party in the elections, as the numbers do not add up, which was why it was essential for SYRIZA to come first. He also dismissed criticism regarding a possible collaboration with the MeRA25 party led by Yanis Varoufakis, pointing out that he had not countenanced "the nonsense about the currency" in 2015 and had absolutely no intention of doing so now.
While agreeing that ultra-right Golden Dawn "in any form must not be in the next parliament and public life", Tsipras nevertheless accused the government of resorting to "undemocratic acts" and legislating an amendment "that exceeds the Constitution" in an attempt to exclude all parties of the right, such as the Emfietzoglou-Bogdanou party and others.
He again criticised Mitsotakis for refusing to face him in a one-on-one televised debate, saying: "I cannot understand the leader who claims the dilemma is between 'Mitsotakis or Tsipras' and then refuses to sit down and debate with his political rival."
Tsipras also commented on the phone-tapping affair, noting that it was far from over, and that "Mr. Mitsotakis will at some point have to answer for this issue."
He accused the prime minister of trying to avoid giving answers and setting up an inquiry "tailored to his needs" in an attempt to manipulate justice.
SYRIZA-PA's leader talked about his party's economic programme, such as plans to lower VAT, and accused the government of redistributing wealth by retaining high indirect taxation that created surplus revenue for the state, while subsidising the citizens to support high prices.
He said the party's proposal was not to "find the money elsewhere but to stop collecting excess revenues in the public coffers".
The opposition leader denied the government's assertions about the cost of SYRIZA's programme, saying that this would be 5.5 billion annually or "almost half what Mr. Mitsotakis handed out in direct assignments and closed tenders for cronies".
He also pointed to the OECD report for 2022, according to which Greece was the only country that had a 7.5 pct decrease in real average wages, while pledging a 10 pct increase for civil servants and annual raises linked to the cost of living.