Tsipras, ND leader clash over refugee crisis, extremism

Tsipras, ND leader clash over refugee crisis, extremism

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of the conservative opposition New Democracy, on Wednesday crossed swords in Parliament during a debate that was ostensibly about citizens’ safety but focused mostly on the government’s handling of the refugee crisis and purported links to extremists.

Challenged over his administration’s response to the refugee crisis, Tsipras avoided commenting on the month-long occupation by migrants of the railway line connecting Greece to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and on a statement by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos linking migrants to jihadists.

Tsipras accused Mitsotakis of linking the refugee crisis to the resurgence of international terrorism. “I’m sorry to say this, but this is the narrative and the argument of the most reactionary, bigoted, far-right parties in Europe,” Tsipras said. The premier also accused Mitsotakis of “fishing in the murky waters of a pool of far-right voters.”

The ND leader hit back, accusing Tsipras of being “lost in a fantasy world” and of “believing his own lies.”

He denied angling for far-right voters, saying he was targeting “the clear waters of the moderate center and all thinking citizens.”

Mitsotakis also referred to purported connections between leftist SYRIZA, which leads the ruling coalition, and members of anti-establishment groups.

Tsipras hit back by referring to supposed links between the far right of ND to violence.

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