Main opposition New Democracy conservative leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis headed a press conference in Thessaloniki on Sunday in the aftermath of his speech at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair on Saturday. He pointed to his plan unveiled last night as a three-pronged focus with less taxes, less expenditure and a more effective state.
He told the press that the ND government would implement the reform program agreed to with Greece’s creditors (European Commission, European Central Bank, European Stability Mechanism and International Monetary Fund) as well as any additional reforms that may be required. He called for snap elections so that Greece could regain its lost credibility with creditors following the “lies” that the country has paid for.
Mitsotakis was critical of the government’s creation of a new “client state” and a new generation of contract employees. When he headed Greece’s public administration, he had tried to resolve the problems caused by fake university titles that many public employees were using to land civil jobs, however the SYRIZA government had opposed this measure.
He spoke of the government stifling entrepreneurship with over-taxation and high insurance contributions. Asked about pension cuts, Mitsotakis said he could not promise immediate changes. He agreed that some wages are very low, and inequalities of pensions would be restored gradually.
In reference to the self-employed he said that the taxes are too hefty, not allowing people to cope.
While he stated readiness to discuss changes to the electoral role, including bonus seats granted to the first party, he said his party would change it once in power. He criticized Tsipras for turning the Constitutional review into a “PR fiesta”. In the case of election, he said that ND would seek co-operation with other parties even in the case of a clear majority.
Mitsotakis supports regional broadcasters provided they are healthy businesses, while adding that regulations are necessary because corruption can exist in both national and regional TV channels. He pledged the abolition of the TV license restrictions.
“The state must intervene with the relevant committees, such as the Competition Committee,” he said, adding that business people should not befriend politicians but focus on investing in the country.
Mitsotakis placed a great deal of responsibility for the current problems in the Greek economy on Tsipras and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. He said that an investigative committee will be sought to investigate their governance.
Red loans will need to be cleared so that banks can have capital and move on.
“I won’t allow the voices of xenophobia and racism in the ND but the government’s handling of the refugee problems raises a number of questions,” said Mitsotakis. “There are matters of concern regarding the relative ministers handling of funds. We had the resignation of the general secretary of the migrant policy ministry. Suspicion of the government’s ability to handle the matter is confirmed,” he said.
Asked why former prime ministers Kostantinos Karamanlis and Antonis Samaras were missing from his speech at TIF, he said that there is good communication between them without needing to publicize their communication.
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