Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras traded verbal blows on Thursday for the first time since the former was elected conservative leader.
Speaking to his MPs, Mitsotakis made it clear he has no intention of even toying with the idea of a coalition with SYRIZA and that he is determined to end the influence of populism in Greek politics.
“The mandate I received from New Democracy members is not to support Mr Tsipras,” the former minister told conservative lawmakers. He described the current coalition as the “last and worst chapter” of “populism and political amoralism” since the fall of the dictatorship in 1974.
Mitsotakis pledged that under his leadership New Democracy would also put forward alternative proposals to the government’s. He said it will start this process by drawing up its own plan for pension reform.
A little earlier, Tsipras heralded the government’s draft law for public sector reform, including the introduction of a new evaluation process for civil servants. He took the opportunity to slam Mitsotakis over his time as administrative reform minister, accusing him of continuing “the worst traditions of the party-controlled state.”
PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata reacted to claims by one of her MPs, Leonidas Grigorakos, that Socialist lawmakers may join New Democracy, by ousting the deputy from her parliamentary group. PASOK now has 16 MPs.