Less than two weeks before European Parliament elections, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday appeared to downplay their significance, suggesting that they would be more like an opinion poll.
“The night of May 26 will capture trends in the electorate,” Tsipras said during an interview on Alpha television channel.
The premier appeared to suggest that the polls could be the beginning of a comeback for his leftist SYRIZA, which has been trailing the conservative opposition New Democracy for months. He said the European elections would be “close,” going on to express certainty that SYRIZA would prevail in general elections scheduled for October.
Tsipras also took the opportunity to hit out at ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis again, this time over the latter’s comments over the weekend suggesting that employees should have the right to negotiate a longer working week with their employers if they want to. Mitsotakis’ comments were a “gift,” Tsipras said, adding that they “are proof of his neoliberal positions,” aimed at establishing “flexible labor.”
Earlier, after government officials accused Mitsotakis of attempting to impose a seven-day week on workers, the ND leader had issued a scathing response accusing the leftist administration of trying to distort his words and calling Tsipras a “desperate liar.”
ND accused the government of hypocrisy, noting that Labor Minister Effie Achtsioglou had sanctioned the seven-day operation of tobacco manufacturer Papastratos, a subsidiary of Philip Morris, which top government officials visited in 2017.
Mitsotakis also suggested that Tsipras’ promise of a 13th pension to workers was nothing but a pre-election ruse as, by reducing the tax-free threshold, the premier effectively deprives workers of their 12th pension.
In the interview with Alpha TV, Tsipras said Mitsotakis “went too far” with his comments on the working week. “It is the position adopted by SEV,” Tsipras said, referring to the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises.