New Democracy is to follow a two-pronged strategy in the coming days as it attempts to win over voters by pledging to tend to their tax concerns while also mounting a campaign to discredit SYRIZA’s economic policy proposals.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to set out his economic plan at the Thessaloniki Fair on Saturday, September 6. He will be followed a week later by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras. In the wake of the mistakes regarding the unified property tax (ENFIA), Samaras is keen to show that he will rectify these errors but also begin to reduce the amount of tax Greeks have to pay.
“From now on our aim is to ease the burden on citizens,” New Democracy MP Chrysanthos Lazaridis, who is also also one of Samaras’s closest advisers, told Mega TV Friday.
New Democracy has already sent its secretary, Andreas Papamimikos, to Thessaloniki in the hope that through contact with local officials and business leaders he will be able to ensure that Samaras receives a warm welcome when he travels to the northern port city next week.
Much could depend on the outcome of talks between Greek ministers and troika representatives in Paris next week. New Democracy is hoping that the Greek officials will return with the outline of an agreement regarding the troika’s strategy for Greece beyond the impending program review rather than complaints about the pace of structural reforms.
“We are going to Paris for the negotiations with the troika so we can come away from the meeting with something, not because we are looking for the Lord’s blessing,” said Lazaridis.
At the same time, the conservatives have started trying to pick faults in SYRIZA’s economic strategy. The opposition party’s economic spokesman Yiannis Dragasakis on Thursday set out some vague points ahead of Tsipras’s speech in Thessaloniki in two weeks’ time. These included ending the policy of internal devaluation and writing down part of Greece’s debt. He also said SYRIZA was lining up a 5-billion-euro program to stoke employment.
“This is not an economic program, it is gobbledegook,” said New Democracy MP Adonis Georgiadis. “He has served as deputy finance minister in the past and he still has the political gall to come out and say this is rubbish? It is not possible that in today’s Europe Dragasakis tells these fairy tales to the Greek people.”