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Greek PM lashes out at predecessors, says he ‘succeeded where they failed’

Greek PM lashes out at predecessors, says he ‘succeeded where they failed’

Alexis Tsipras “would have been a very happy prime minister” if he'd been elected to govern Greece a decade earlier, instead of finding “empty coffers” in 2015, he told Open TV on Thursday, lashing out at his predecessors in the wake of comments by former conservative premier Costas Karamanlis the previous day.

“He spoke for 16 minutes; more or less a minute-and-a-half for every year of silence” Tsipras said referring to a speech by Karamanlis in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, one of the former premier's rare public addresses since his defeat in general elections in 2009. “I respect his choice but I can't help noting, just like every other citizen, that I had expected some degree of self-criticism about his own performance.”

Tsipras said that Karamanlis – who was elected in 2004 and 2007 – may not have been prime minister when Greece had to seek financial assistance from international creditors, “but he opened the doors to the bailouts.” The former conservative leader also “chose to leave knowing very well what kind of fiscal condition the country was in,” Tsipras added, referring to Karamanlis' decision to call early elections in October 2009. 

Tsipras, who on July 7 will be battling to keep his seat for the third time in less than six years, against New Democracy's Kyriakos Mitsotakis, also lashed out at George Papandreou, Karamanlis' socialist successor.

“The next prime minister probably had no idea what was going on, he kept saying ‘the money's there,’ he led the country into the arms of the IMF and he also chose to leave and to hand over to an non-elected prime minister,” said Tsipras, referring to Papandreou's decision to resign after a close confidence vote in November 2011, making way for a caretaker government under Lucas Papademos.

“The prime minister after that,” added Tsipras referring to New Democracy's Antonis Samaras, “chose to surrender a country that had been pillaged, with empty coffers, to the so-called plot of the ‘leftist parenthesis’.”

On his own performance, Tsipras said he will he ”judged by history and the people.”

“I am the prime minister who took the country out of the memorandums they put it in. I succeeded where they failed,” he said.