Opposition leader and left-wing SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras presented his party’s positions on the economy at the Thessaloniki International Fair Saturday night, in counterpoint to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ keynote speech the previous Saturday.
Tsipras accused Mitsotakis of being an elitist who has not had to work for a living and governing for his fellow elitists.
“We need a new state that will not be manipulated by the elites, that will be just in its core and will shy away from corruption and plundering the public purse,” Tsipras said, adding that the “progressive government” he will lead will not be a single-party one.
He committed himself that the party will not govern the state and that the “excessive, scandalous salaries of the ‘golden boys’,” a reference to appointed heads of public enterprises and aides, will be abolished.
Tsipras also said he would create a National Security Council, that alll public sector hirings will be made by an upgraded Supreme Personnel Selection Council (ASEP) and that the management of state TV ERT and news agency ANA-MPA will be appointed by the Parliament.
Tsipras said he will better fund the National Health System, with an extra €2 billion from the state budget and €1 billion from EU funds through the Recovery and Resilience Fund, aiming to raise health spending to 7% of the country’s GDP. He added that the entry monthly salary for newly-hired doctors will be raised to €2,000 and 5,500 health personnel will be hired immediately – and 10,000 over 3 years – to replace those who have left.
On higher education, Tsipras calls for the abolition of the minimum grade required for entry into universities, will not hire security officeers but more academics and will double spending on universities over a 4-year period.
Tsipras also promised to raise the minimum monthly wage to €800, accusing the government of passing a “miserable” labor reform law that “leads employees to servitude.” “We willl restore the sacred right to strike and will implement a pilot 35-hour-week program,” he added.
The SYRIZA leader would also abolish the so-called “Solidarity Tax,” which the present government has suspended, for those with annual income up to €40,000, reduce tax bracket rates for incomes up to €65,000 and relieve debt burdens created by the pandemic and national disasters.
Tsipras accused Mitsotakis of “deceiving the middle class…they are not those Mr Mitsotakis is talking to…he has lost the citizens’ confidence. Mr Mitsotakis governs for his army of party hacks,” he added.