The country’s acute political polarization was on full display yet again Monday during an acrimonious debate in Parliament between party leaders regarding the Greek economy in light of the June 15 Eurogroup agreement.
The acrimony was evident from the get-go with all opposition parties calling for political change, and denouncing the leftist-led coalition over the June 15 deal which, they claimed, will inflict serious damage on the economy and society as a whole.
New Democracy chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis led the charge, saying there was “wide political and societal consensus” regarding the need for a political change that will lead the country out of its protracted crisis. But Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appeared unfazed, and insisted that his government will see out its full term in office, while highlighting his leftist credentials.
“There is a dividing line between left and right,” he said, adding that there is a “progressive way out of the crisis, against a conservative one.”
Tsipras was emphatic in his defense of the deal, saying it will put the country back on the road to recovery and dismissed critics as “disaster-mongers.”
“Now the review has finished, it is not at all easy to sell disaster-mongering and fear,” he said, noting that the reactions of markets since the deal cannot be distorted. But Tsipras’s arguments drew the mockery of opposition parties for failing to achieve all the goals he had set at the beginning of the year – including Greece’s inclusion in the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program and debt relief measures – and for becoming a “champion” at imposing taxes but a loser in his purported crackdown on tax evasion.
“The figures say it all, you said you would collect 3 billion euros in six months and you collected less than 100 million in 30 months,” Mitsotakis said, addressing Tsipras.
The leader of socialist Democratic Alignment and PASOK, Fofi Gennimata, called for “elections as soon as possible.”