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Greece: step back to the past?

In his first speech to the SYRIZA parliamentary group since the summer, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stepped up his effort to put distance between SYRIZA and New Democracy in voters’ minds in what many see as a pre-cursor for the political battle to come in Greece over the coming months

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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It is clear that Tsipras believes that he can make headway by presenting his government as being friendlier to the weakest members of Greek society than any administration led by Mitsotakis’ party.
It is clear that Tsipras believes that he can make headway by presenting his government as being friendlier to the weakest members of Greek society than any administration led by Mitsotakis’ party.

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by N. Peter Kramer

Tsipras pounced on reports that name of New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s wife appeared in the Paradise Papers, published a few days ago.

Tsipras and his government, are certain to use this as a platform to strengthen the argument that they have been trying to put forward some time, which is that they are battling against an established and corrupt elite, which they accuse Mitsotakis of being part of. This is a message that served SYRIZA and Tsipras well in the two elections during 2015.

SYRIZA will also try to convey to voters in the coming months, that it can ensure a fairer distribution of the rewards of the imminent economic recovery than New Democracy. Tsipras pointed to agreements with the creditors on a minimum level for widows’ pensions and the inclusion of self-employed professionals owing between 20.000 and 50.000 euros in the out-of-court workout as further signs of the government’s efforts to protect some of those exposed to the effects of the crisis. The prime-minister also highlighted the government’s intention to share out the so-called ‘social dividend’ and called on Mitsotakis’ New Democracy not to leave themselves ‘exposed’ by voting against the handout in the same way that they opposed giving back last year’s fiscal over-performance to pensioners.

It is clear that Tsipras believes that he can make headway by presenting his government as being friendlier to the weakest members of Greek society than any administration led by Mitsotakis’ party.

In the meantime, Mitsotakis has been trying to shore up his party amid claims of rifts within the main opposition ranks. He came under attack from the government-friendly media after calling for a parliamentary debate on law and order during which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras presented data showing that various forms of crime are on the way down. Recent opinion polls indicate New Democracy is short of a clear majority and suggest that Tsipras’ party has eaten away at its rival’s considerable lead since the summer.

The rumour goes that Tsipras will call snap elections in Spring 2018. A huge concern for EU leaders as Merkel, Juncker, Tusk, Tajani, all belonging to the European People Party (EPP). They prefer strongly that New Democracy, an esteemed member of the EPP elite but, let's not forget, also one of the two Greek political parties heavily responsible for the disastrous ‘bankruptcy’ of Greece, comes back to power.

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