The debate this weekend in Parliament on a censure motion brought by main opposition SYRIZA against the government over its handling of a severe snowstorm earlier in the week is seen by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his aides as an opportunity for an open discussion “about everything” that will ultimately backfire against its political opponents.
The motion will not pass as ruling New Democracy holds a strong majority of 157 seats in the 300-member parliament. The motion would require an absolute majority to pass.
But the debate is expected to give Mitsotakis the chance, sources told Kathimerini, to highlight everything that the government has done during the two and a half years it has been in office and contrast it with SYRIZA’s performance when it was in government.
The same sources insisted that despite the individual mistakes made in handling the recent bad weather, the big picture is undoubtedly in favor of the government.
The prime minister’s ultimate goal is that by the time elections are held voters will be left with a clear dilemma to choose between himself and Alexis Tsipras.
At the same time, as it became apparent from a relevant announcement by ruling New Democracy, the leader of KINAL-PASOK, Nikos Androulakis, will also enter the frame of criticism over his backing of the censure motion. In particular, the government will bid to highlight what it sees as a turn further to the left by Androulakis so as to consolidate ND’s dominance of the political center, which is seen as pivotal in the next national elections.
On Wednesday, Mitsotakis offered a “personal and sincere apology” to the thousands of drivers left stranded on major roads in Athens and for the power outages in many areas. But he did not stop short of blaming the private company operating the tollway where drivers were stranded.
What’s more, during his regular visit Friday to President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, he said that the government should learn from its mistakes and improve.
At the same time, he defended what has been done in civil protection during the last 30 months, saying that “we have laid the foundations so that we can have the procedures, equipment and training so that we are ready to face any unexpected event no matter how intense it is.”