Samaras pledges Greeks will soon reap benefits of sound public finances

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras promised Thursday that if he is re-elected he will not cut pensions or wages further and will give back more in the way of tax cuts and salary increases.

Speaking in Maroussi, northern Athens, Samaras focused on the fact that Greece’s public finances are back on track and that this would soon lead to a better standard of living for Greeks.

“It is exactly because of the fact that we have put an end to deficits and tidied up the public sector that we can give rises and reduce taxes, lightening people’s load,” he said, promising to reduce the unified property tax this year.

“We will give more,” added the prime minister.

He contrasted the government’s ability to get Greece’s public finances under control with the uncertainty surrounding SYRIZA’s plans to push for a better deal with the eurozone.

“If Greece clashes with its lenders, we will be in danger of losing 35 billion euros [in loans and funding],” he said. “[SYRIZA] have told lies to everyone. That is why our truth and responsibility scares them.”

New Democracy is set to announce 215 newcomers among the 410 parliamentary candidates that will represent the conservatives around the country.

Earlier Thursday Deputy Prime Minister and PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos expressed disappointment with Samaras following an announcement that Socialist Deputy Culture Minister Angela Gerekou will stand with New Democracy in the January 25 elections. In an open letter to Samaras, Venizelos described the transfer, which was sought by the premier, as “an immoral and crude political initiative” and “a shame.” The former actress has represented PASOK on the Ionian island of Corfu since 2004.

In comments to Star Channel, Venizelos accused Gerekou of “political opportunism,” adding that there was a “large group of homeless, opportunistic political cadres who have no problem switching camp.” In the same interview, Venizelos warned that a second round of general elections, which will take place if parties are unable to form a government, would create a fiscal gap of 15-20 billion euros.