In the wake of a televised debate in which political leaders offered few fresh insights into their intentions ahead of next Sunday’s snap elections, party campaign teams on Thursday cranked up their efforts to sell their message to voters, taking particular aim at a significant proportion of Greeks who remain undecided.
In the ranks of conservative New Democracy, there was satisfaction that leader Evangelos Meimarakis had performed relatively well in Wednesday’s debate, boosting his profile as a potential leader and coming out of the contest with an apparent advantage over former prime minister and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who failed to give convincing answers. “Tsipras did not defend his goverment’s record,” an ND official said, noting that the former premier “was apologetic but not honest.”
According to sources, during an exchange that was not caught on camera, Meimarakis asked Tsipras whether he had known what he was undertaking when he entered a coalition with Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos, who railed against Meimarakis during the debate, accusing him of involvement in corruption. In an interview with Newspost Thursday, Meimarakis attributed Kammenos’s theatrics to indications by opinion polls that ANEL will not re-enter Parliament. “He can see he won’t get into Parliament and he’s on the verge of going crazy,” Meimarakis said.
The ND leader is due in Thessaloniki this weekend for a speech as part of the city’s international fair in which he is expected to emphasize his party’s commitment to restoring stability, safeguarding public order and foreign policy issues.
In the ranks of SYRIZA, the focus is on securing as many undecided voters as possible. Opinion polls put the proportion of wavering voters at between 10 and 15 percent. In SYRIZA, cadres believe that the majority of the undecided are people who voted for SYRIZA in January’s election. The party’s two new advertising campaigns seek to emphasize the party’s positive achievements in government, including tackling the humanitarian crisis and seeking to battle corruption.
Speaking in his hometown of Arta, western Greece, Thursday, Tsipras insisted that SYRIZA was not just another bailout party. “We have shown that we are very different in terms of what we achieved,” Tsipras said, referring again to the “tough negotiation” strategy of his government. “We left Maximos for a few days but we will be back for several years, to work hard and rebuild the country,” he said, referring to the Maximos Mansion, the prime-ministerial residence.