Feeling like a pre-election period, Wednesday’s parliamentary debate between party leaders turned into a full-fledged confrontation as all sides sought to take corners arguing over what is at stake for the country.
“The real confrontation is between the country’s productive forces and the parasitic political system that was set up by state-sponsored businessmen,” said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, hinting that the “parasitic” system was formed with the blessing of previous governments.
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis countered that the leftist-led coalition’s “irresponsible populism” has been pitted against the forces of reform and truth and that necessary changes were needed to move the country forward.
For her part, PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata said the real conflict is between the forces of progressiveness and conservatism.
The debate unfolded as Greece’s negotiations with international creditors over the conclusion of the second review of the country’s third bailout remain at a standstill.
Tsipras said he was optimistic that the stalled negotiations will soon be successfully completed, contrary to the expectations, he said, of those who “invested in the government’s failure.”
He also insisted that the review will be concluded without Greece having to legislate new austerity measures beyond 2018 when the bailout program ends. “The exit from the program in mid-2018 is visible,” he said.
Unconvinced, opposition leaders accused the government of having no plan to get the country back on the road to recovery, and said that it is wasting valuable time with its seemingly endless negotiations with creditors.
“Never in the last seven years, since the crisis hit Greek society, has the horizon been so dark for the Greek ship,” Mitsotakis said, raising the alarm of an imminent fourth bailout or the danger of Grexit coming back to the fore.
Gennimata slammed Tsipras, saying his tactics cause insecurity and uncertainty, which are the banes, she said, of the real economy.
“You are moving forward without a strategy, you are incompetent and inefficient. You are leading the country to a new dead end,” she told Tsipras.