In talks with officials on the sidelines of a summit of the European People’s Party in Brussels that started Wednesday, conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis is to press his argument that Greece needs snap elections to sweep away the current leftist-led government and bring in a more reform-friendly administration.
Mitsotakis is to meet Thursday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, among others.
ND sources are hoping that European Union officials will welcome Mitsotakis’s call for political change, coming as it does just a few days after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras unsettled the country’s creditors by announcing Christmas bonuses for thousands of pensioners and vowing to keep in place a value-added tax discount for remote islands that the government had promised its lenders to revoke. The meetings come as ND leads leftist SYRIZA by a wide margin in opinion polls.
Mitsotakis’s argument is that snap polls would not be destabilizing, as they had been in January 2015, as ND is a reformist power compared to the SYRIZA coalition with Independent Greeks which the conservative party describes as “unreliable and opportunistic” in its policy-making.
ND accuses the government of having agreed with Greece’s international creditors “unattainable fiscal targets which bring tough austerity measures” and calls it “dangerous” for the country.
In an interview with Italian channel Rai News, Mitsotakis said elections should be held as soon as possible in Greece.
“It is a solution to the political problem that the country faces,” he told Rai News. “Greece needs a government that is absolutely focused on reforms, that believes in reforms for the benefit of the many, in reforms that will attract investments, create jobs, improve the way the state functions, the quality of healthcare and education,” he said, noting that the current government risks “trapping the country in a cycle of protracted austerity.”