Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis crossed swords in Parliament on Tuesday with scathing exchanges on economic policy as well as public order and security ahead of a vote on next year’s budget, which passed with 154 votes, while 143 opposed it.
Referring to the country’s “first post-memorandum budget,” Tsipras said his government was determined to “finish its work,” and accused ND of favoring the wealthy and privileged. “That is your ideology, that is your political plan,” he said, “the prosperity of those on top and the impoverishment of the rest.”
Despite his government’s lagging popularity, Tsipras insisted that the beleaguered coalition would pull through in next year’s elections. “It is not pollsters that vote in elections but the people who you looted, and in September 2019 they will be looking to the future with greater optimism,” he said.
Mitsotakis, for his part, accused the government of “populism, demagoguery and politics without principles,” and said its budget propped up “unbearable [primary] surpluses.” An ND-led government would reduce taxes and contributions, he said.
“The cycle of decline is closing but Greeks will remember you for five things: lies, poverty, taxes, fear and scandals,” he said.
Mitsotakis also commented on Monday’s bomb attack against Skai TV and Kathimerini, saying that it was the result of the government’s strategy to create tension which, he said, SYRIZA has pursued for years. “Part of this strategy is the systematic targeting of the media. You have called out people and front pages, you have anticipated court rulings, you have even revealed financial information on journalists whose writing you do not like,” he said.