Calling an early election in the midst of the pandemic would be political “opportunism,” leftist opposition leader Alexis Tsipras has said while criticizing the conservative government’s economic record and handling of tensions with Turkey.
“I am not afraid of a snap vote,” Tsipras told Kathimerini’s executive editor Alexis Papachleas in an interview. “But I do believe that… while it is not yet clear if there will be a second wave, it would be irresponsible to trigger political developments that would create even greater insecurity.”
Defending the simple proportional representation system for favoring multiparty coalition governments, the former prime minister said that the political and social shifts brought by the pandemic will enable his SYRIZA party to return to power “not as a protest party, but as a creative force.”
Tsipras also accused the administration of Kyriakos Mitsotakis of sending Greece back into recession in the first quarter of 2020 and of failing to lure foreign investment, while chastising the conservatives for their “dramatic” handling of the migration issue.
“In Moria, the number of migrants rose from 6,000 to 26,000, while the attempt to create new closed centers turned into a fiasco,” he said, referring to the notoriously overcrowded camp in the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos.
While acknowledging the government’s success in containing the spread of Covid-19, the opposition leader said he would have done more to bolster the National Health System with permanent hirings and more infrastructure.
Asked about the recent incident on the Evros border, Tsipras accused the government of seeking to downplay the issue, while criticizing the absence of a clear “strategy” as Turkey raises the stakes with mounting provocations against Greece.
“The fear of [assuming] responsibility in the name of a purported patriotic intransigence has often resulted in national defeat,” he said, reiterating allegations that Mitsotakis was driven by populism in his opposition to the Prespes name deal with North Macedonia.
“I have decided not to do the same [as Mitsotakis did]. On issues where cross-party consensus is possible, I will be there to grant it,” Tsipras said.