Main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday said his party will unite Greeks and bridge differences created by the governing coalition, expressing confidence New Democracy will emerge victorious from next year's elections during a speech at the opening day of the party's conference.
“The next elections will seal the great political change that the Greek society demands,” he told attendees. “I ask you to join forces and leave SYRIZA in the past.”
He also reiterated his rejection of the name deal signed between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) last June, saying Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras recognized a Macedonian language and ethnicity.
“New Democracy will never ratify the Prespes agreement – not now, not in the next Parliament, not ever,” he said, adding that Tsipras exchanged the abolition of the planned pension cuts with a “major national loss” in foreign affairs.
Mitsotakis also announced his party will legislate a 2,000-euro benefit for every child born, which will cover the initial costs and will be distributed with “widened income criteria” to include “the vast majority” of new families.
He also pledged to increase the minimum wage at twice the country's annual GDP growth rate.
Meanwhile, at a SYRIZA rally in the northern city, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras lashed out at ND on a wide range of issues ranging from foreign policy to alleged scandals in the conservative party’s closet.
He also accused Mitsotakis of personally transforming the conservative party into a ”far-right sect” that is bent on restoring the influence of the elites and their vested interests.
The opposition conservatives, he said, are “political fraudsters who ravaged the country while posing as super patriots, hand in hand with the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn.”
“[New Democracy] threw the country into the turmoil of the memorandums and we liberated it,” Tsipras said, adding that his government restored the pride and dignity of the Greek people which had been shattered by previous governments.
Tsipras also sought to rally SYRIZA supporters in northern Greece, where the leftist party’s popularity has suffered due the Macedonia name deal, known as the Prespes agreement.
Referring to the deal, he sought to identify those opposed to it with the extreme-right, deriding them as “professional patriots.”
He also claimed that the Prespes agreement and the international alliances built under his government had raised Greece’s status from the margins of international developments to that of a leading power “in the Balkans and the Southeast Mediterranean.”