New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of the conservatives joining a cross-party, or ecumenical, government.
In his first TV interview since his surprise victory in the New Democracy leadership race, Mitsotakis sought to quash rumors about a potential alliance with SYRIZA.
“We will not support an ecumenical government,” he told Skai TV’s “Istories” program.
“I am not in a rush to become prime minister,” added Mitsotakis. He said that he sensed “great turmoil” within SYRIZA at the moment but added that he does not think snap elections are likely.
Mitsotakis reiterated his differences with the government’s pension reform proposals but also accused the International Monetary Fund and the director of its European Department, Poul Thomsen, of sometimes becoming fixated on certain issues.
“I have personally disagreed very strongly with Mr Thomsen and the IMF,” said the conservative chief. “It is true that the IMF has a lot of obsessions,” he said, giving the Fund’s insistence while he was administrative reform minister on public sector dismissals as an example.
Mitsotakis dismissed SYRIZA claims that New Democracy is encouraging farmers in their protests against the government over social security and tax increases. He claimed that he advised conservative lawmakers against visiting farmers at their roadblocks around the country.
“That does not mean we are not talking to the farmers, but that should not give the impression New Democracy will repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said.
“The era of populism, the era of jumping on the bandwagon of indignation and then having to deal with the fallout when we are in government, is over and is not coming back.”