In his last campaign speech before Sunday’s local, regional and European elections, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed the triple ballot's importance, saying “we are voting for our lives." “We're not just deciding who will represent us in the European Parliament but which plan the country will follow after the memorandums,” he told a crowd in Syntagma Square.
Appealing to “citizens of Athens” waving leftist SYRIZA flags in front of Parliament, Tsipras described the crowd’s presence as “an outburst of democracy, an outburst of hope and reversal.”
Accusing the previous political system, along with the “technocrats of the IMF and European banks” of punishing the majority of Greeks “to save their own banks,” Tsipras said that his government eventually made a “difficult compromise” in 2015 “so that today we can make several steps forward together.” “We feel our struggle has been vindicated.”
He asked for the support of the Greek people to keep the country on a positive path. “It is not enough for us to have a plan for the country. Our plan must be supported by the Greek people. Now the time has come for the Greek people to speak and decide on their future,” he said.
“It was not at all certain that we would be could emerge from the tunnel, that the memorandums would finish, that the economy would recover,” he added. “We achieved it because we worked decisively and with a plan.
He reiterated his pledges for benefits to pensioners and tax cuts along with promises for a reduction of up to 50 percent in the ENFIA property tax, though “not for those with villas and offshore companies.”
“We are not only asking for your support of our plan but also your trust in the relief measures that we have announced,” he said. “On Sunday, do not give your rights way. Take the ballot paper and your life in your hands. It is your 13th pension, it is the boosting of your income.”
“We are asking for the power to block the path to Commission presidency for the anti-Greek Mr Weber,” he said, referring to Manfred Weber, the European People’s Party’s candidate for EC chief.
As for his political rival, conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Tsipras described him as "incurably neoliberal,” saying an ND administration would roll back the positive measures his government has introduced.
Amid spiraling speculation about the possibility of him calling snap polls depending on Sunday’s election result, Tsipras suggested general elections would happen in October as scheduled. “The final answer will be given in the fall with a new prospect of a four-year term,” he said. “The first term was the one we governed with our hands behind our back. Now we can govern with our own plan.”
In message to 17-year-olds who will be voting for first time on Sunday, Tsipras said, “The generation of now, the generation of tomorrow. You will be the protagonists of the new Greece of the many.”
He also backed the integration of all second generation immigrants. “Every person who is born and grows up in this country will be Greek, will be our child, will be one of us. Because we don't want to divide people, we want to unite people.”