Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras showed yet another of his many faces during his interview on Skai television on Thursday night.
The particular face was that of the affable, sincere politician who has succeeded on his difficult program and turns to his people to recount the many glories of his administration.
If an outsider was listening to the Greek prime minister they would think that Greece is some kind of an east Mediterranean Monaco where people are ready to start basking in the sun enjoying the fruits of economic growth while the most caring government on the planet is busy legislating new laws that would bring even more prosperity and happiness. And social justice for all, especially for the poor, so the cabinet members don’t forget their communist background.
If the newly elected Tsipras was disengaged from reality regarding his ambitious goals, the ruling Tsipras is disengaged from reality regarding his achievements. He is probably the only prime minister in Greece’s political history that has not achieved even one of the many things he had promised. Not one. Yet, he talks as if he has done most of the things he pledged to do.
Tsipras said that in some cases he was forced to choose the lesser of two evils and now he recognizes that he has better knowledge of international associations and the country’s potential. Not once did he apologize of his lack of knowledge on how the real world operates, outside the confines of his Marxist ideology.
Answering to questions on the electoral law, he said that the abolition of the 50 bonus seats to the winning party and pure proportional representation will make Greece more democratic. He called the 50 bonus seats as undemocratic. Yet, he failed to mention that he came twice to power using the “undemocratic” bonus seats.
On the Brexit, he said that since Greece has secured a European Union bailout program, the repercussions of the Brexit would not be felt. He also said that he was against Britain leaving the union, yet many of his cabinet members were openly for a Brexit. Only three days ago the vulgar Deputy Health Minister Pavlos Polakis said in a press conference that if it wasn’t for SYRIZA, Britain would have never shown the defiance to leave the austerity-imposing European Union.
Regarding the infamous Plan X of former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis — that looked suspiciously like a coup involving the army — in case negotiations with lenders failed and Greece was forced to leave the euro zone, he downplayed facts and said that he indeed had asked Varoufakis to form a plan. However, he said, when he saw what was at stake, he decided to go ahead and sign the memorandum of understanding with creditors. He said he cannot follow what Varoufakis says about that period and, again, he forgot to apologize for the fact that Varoufakis’ flashy tricks cost the Greek economy 80-100 billion euros.
On the issue of trying to close television stations that are critical of the government using the pretext of protecting healthy entrepreneurship by giving out only four broadcasting licenses, he answered that Greece can only handle four television stations. Well, again, he failed to mention that a crisis-stricken country cannot afford four state-operated television stations. Not to mention that taking away the authority of the independent monitoring council and giving its authorities to a state minister does not sound too democratic.
During the interview, there were several times that Tsipras spoke as if he was leader of the opposition. His constant slamming of New Democracy and chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis sounded like he is in pre-election mode, not the elected prime minister who has a lot of work ahead of him. Despite the fact that he said elections will be held in 2019 — after the SYRIZA-ANEL four-year term expires — his rushing to change the electoral law now is due to the fact that the conservative party leads in opinion polls while Tsipras’ popularity is waning.
The problem Tsipras has is that few Greeks believe him anymore. In fact, there is audio documentation available for everything he has said or promised in the past. His lies to come to power — or illusions, as he calls them — are all documented. In the interview, he tried to pass the harsh bailout measures as beneficiary or, at worst, as the lesser of two evils. Yet, in the eyes of the Greek people he is the man who cheated them out of their vote by promising things he knew he could not deliver.