NEWS

Tsipras bids to woo middle class

STAVROS PAPANTONIOU

TAGS: Politics, Economy

Seeking to leave behind the gloom after the heavy defeat in the European election last month, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his ministers Monday outlined his party’s program for the next four years until 2023, insisting he will target the middle class that has borne the brunt of the country’s protracted financial crisis.

Speaking at an event at the Athens Concert Hall, Tsipras sought to champion the middle class, saying “some had to help more so that people won’t be left behind.” He added that he “understands their exhaustion, anger and displeasure more than anything.” 

Tsipras placed emphasis on the “new economic policy that began the day after Greece exited its bailout program in August last year.” Within this framework, he announced targeted tax relief for people with middle and lower incomes, new jobs, further wage increases and a bolstering of the welfare state and pensions.

More specifically, SYRIZA’s program is based on “the pillars of growth for everyone,” climate change, new quality jobs with better wages, fair taxation, a better and democratic state as well as social solidarity.

Addressing the same event, Interior Minister Alexis Haritsis said that under New Democracy and PASOK (between 2010 and 2014), 200,000 medium to small businesses went under, while 700,000 jobs were lost. He also said that record numbers of the middle class became socially excluded and were exposed to poverty.

Earlier in the day, Tsipras met with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to ask for the dissolution of Parliament and a snap election so as avert what he described as political uncertainty that could undermine economy.

“I came here given that the European elections have created a situation of a protracted pre-election period of about four months,” he told Pavlopoulos.

“I have the responsibility to consider that this may pose a threat for the national economy,” he said, adding, “With a full sense of this responsibility, I ask you to dissolve Parliament and call for a national election to renew the mandate.” Pavlopoulos said he accepted the government’s proposal.

Tsipras called the general election forward after his party suffered a heavy defeat in last month’s European election. The main opposition New Democracy party won the election by 9.5 points.

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