A parliamentary debate about the agricultural sector in Greece provided a rare opportunity Tuesday for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to engage in a fierce verbal exchange.
Despite the debate’s topic, Samaras and Tsipras referred to a range of subjects that included the fiscal adjustment program, investments, the role of the police and Samaras’s habit of avoiding prime minister’s question time in Parliament.
After Tsipras’s criticism, Samaras defended his rare appearances in the House by saying that he works 18 hours a day, seven days a week. The SYRIZA leader slammed the coalition’s austerity program and gave the example of the Bulgarian government resigning amid protests against cuts and rising electricity prices.
Tsipras came under attack from PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who accused SYRIZA of not “telling the Greek people what it wants.” Tsipras rejected claims it was driving investors away from Greece and accused the government of doing just that. He gave the example of Germany company Deutsche Aeolia, which he said wants to invest in renewable energy but has not been granted the relevant permits.
Venizelos questioned Tsipras’s motives for referring to this example. “How acceptable is it in institutional terms for a party leader to talk about a specific investor?” he said.