In a wide-ranging interview with Skai Television Tuesday night, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras engaged in broad self-criticism while holding up Greece’s exit from the international bailouts and its contentious name deal with North Macedonia as his administration’s two key achievements.
Just a few days before snap elections that his leftist SYRIZA party is expected to lose, Tsipras admitted that his administration displayed “naivety” during the first six months of power in 2015 when it clashed with the European establishment, and admitted that it made mistakes in its handling of the middle class.
“We were prepared but they were better prepared than we were,” Tsipras said, referring to the country’s international creditors.
As for his abrasive former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Tsipras admitted that he was “a wrong choice of person.”
Questioned on the sensitive issue of President Prokopis Pavlopoulos’ hesitation to approve his nominations for top court posts, Tsipras said he respected the president’s reluctance to do so in a pre-election period but said he disagreed with him.
Asked about the fateful night of July 23 last year and the disastrous fires in Mati, eastern Attica, when his administration was accused of hiding the scale of the tragedy, Tsipras admitted he had information that one or two people were dead. He also claimed that he was not aware that the crisis meeting was being broadcast live.
As for the outcome of Sunday’s polls, Tsipras said it remained open and that he was campaigning to win, despite SYRIZA’s low ratings in the polls.