NEWS

PM pursuing multi-pronged campaign plan

pm-pursuing-multi-pronged-campaign-plan

With European Parliament and local authority elections looming in May, and speculation rising about possible early general elections, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is planning a multi-pronged campaign, Kathimerini understands.

In contrast to the 2015 campaign that brought leftist SYRIZA to power, Tsipras now aims to style himself as a responsible leader who can safeguard economic recovery while boosting the country’s international standing.

One foreign policy move thought to be in the cards is the extension of Greece’s territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in the Ionian Sea by May.

After assuming the role of foreign minister following Nikos Kotzias’s departure in October, Tsipras said the extension would be legislated in Parliament, not imposed via presidential decree.

As part of a bid to draw voters from the center of the political spectrum, Tsipras is expected to announce the last of a series of social benefits in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, he is keen to avert a spike in tensions with the Church of Greece as talks between the Holy Synod and the government on a tentative deal to loosen close ties between the church and the state have stalled.

The government wants to move priests off the state payroll so it can hire thousands more civil servants. However, the synod opposes changes to clerics’ salary status.

The government is also eager to ensure there is no clash with the country’s creditors over economic reforms, to secure the release of profits on Greek bonds held by European central banks and proceed with the issue of a new government bond, probably next month.