Greek Election Campaign Wraps Up With Athens, Thessaloniki Rallies



The campaign for Sunday’s European and municipal elections closed on Friday with two major rallies in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Speaking at Syntagma Square, PM Alexis Tsipras called on Greeks to cast their vote “for the Greece of the many,” and for the restoration of injustices wrought by the crisis.

“Now we can be the ones to manage our own future and govern based on our own priorities instead of the directives of creditors,” Tsipras underlined.

Despite the fiscal suffocation of austerity and loan memoranda, Tsipras said, the government managed to find ways to provide support for the humanitarian crisis in Greece.

Among future plans, the premier mentioned 10,000 new hires in the health sector, 15,000 in schools, supplements to rents for 240,000 Greek families, the reductions of insurance contributions to 13 percent and to business tax by 1 percent annually, and the 120 installment plant for taxpayers to meet outstanding obligations in social insurance and tax payments.

Earlier on Friday, Tsipras, whose SYRIZA party trails in the polls, had said that the election was also a vote of confidence in his policies.

Asked if he was considering a snap election in June and whether that hinged on the EU vote result, Tsipras said: “On Sunday, people may not be voting for a government but they will be voting on the policies that will govern the country in the coming years.”

“If these measures are rejected, all (prospects) are open,” Tsipras said, without providing details.

“Any percentage of defeat for the Syriza party … would open a discussion that I cannot foretell how it would end. We would be entering an adventure,” he said.

Mitsotakis: Greece will turn blue

Opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaking in Thessaloniki called on young voters and former New Democracy supporters to back the conservatives so that they could “write a new page” in Greece’s history.

Greece “will turn blue on Sunday night,” he said, referring to the color of his party’s logo.

The 51-year-old economist reiterated pledges to restart the economy in the event that his party prevails in general elections, by introducing incentives for investors and tax reforms, including a 30 percent discount to the ENFIA property levy.

On Greece’s Prespa Agreement signed with neighboring North Macedonia, Mitsotakis reiterated that he intends to retain the right to veto its EU accession course, a warning he repeated in terms of Albania’s protection of the Greek minority’s rights.

He also said he would seek the international recognition of the genocide of Pontic Greeks.

The latest opinion polls give Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party a clear lead of between six and seven percentage points over governing SYRIZA.

Related: Greek European Elections a Litmus Test for PM Tsipras