Tsipras de­fends plan

In in­ter­view, PM asks par­ties to back elec­toral re­form; Mit­so­takis slams ‘tac­tics’

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

In a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view with Skai TV yes­ter­day, Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras de­fended his plans to change the elec­toral law, in­tro­duc­ing a sim­ple sys­tem of pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and called on po­lit­i­cal par­ties to back the re­form, not­ing that fail­ure to do so would con­sti­tute a “demo­cratic faux pas” and “po­lit­i­cal sui­cide.”

Re­gard­ing the tim­ing of his de­ci­sion to re­form the elec­toral law, Tsipras said it had been im­pos­si­ble to do last year when his main pri­or­ity had been ne­go­ti­at­ing with cred­i­tors but that “now the time is right talk about ma­jor re­forms and changes that the coun­try needs.”

Tsipras de­fended his plans to abol­ish the 50seat bonus for the win­ning party that ex­ists un­der the cur­rent elec­toral sys­tem and to lower the min­i­mum vot­ing age to 17 from 18.

He in­sisted on the need to in­tro­duce a sys­tem of sim­ple pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion and de­scribed the op­po­si­tion of par­ties of the cen­ter­left as “un­jus­ti­fi­able,” not­ing that such a sys­tem would give them greater po­lit­i­cal lever­age.

Tsipras said the time was right for the pres­i­dent to be elected by the peo­ple in­stead of Par­lia­ment. As re­gards a broader re­view of the Con­sti­tu­tion, Tsipras said as­pects of the pro­posed changes could be put to a ref­er­en­dum.

On his gov­ern­ment’s track record, Tsipras ad­mit­ted mis­takes were made dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with its cred­i­tors and that the third bailout agree­ment “un­doubt­edly in­cludes some painful com­pro­mises.”

As for re­cent rev­e­la­tions by Amer­i­can econ­o­mist James Gal­braith about the ex­is­tence of a plan B for the pos­si­bil­ity of a Greek exit from the eu­ro­zone, Tsipras ad­mit­ted that there had been such a con­tin­gency plan. How­ever, he de­nied that plans had been drawn up for in­tro­duc­ing a new cur­rency, say­ing that in such a sce­nario, Greece would have been a “failed state.”

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, New Democ­racy leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis called on his MPs to re­ject the gov­ern­ment’s “tac­tics,” ac­cus­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of play­ing with Greece’s in­sti­tu­tions and the Con­sti­tu­tion in or­der to “cling onto” power. He vowed, how­ever, that ND would change the elec­toral law when in power. Mit­so­takis ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of in­com­pe­tence, say­ing it was driv­ing the coun­try into re­ces­sion, and re­peated his call for snap elec­tions. “We have to fin­ish with this gov­ern­ment,” he said.

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