Par­ties get on their marks

In par­lia­men­tary de­bate with elec­tion cam­paign feel, lead­ers cross swords over way for­ward

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Feel­ing like a pre-elec­tion pe­riod, yes­ter­day’s par­lia­men­tary de­bate between party lead­ers turned into a full-fledged con­fronta­tion as all sides sought to take cor­ners ar­gu­ing over what is at stake for the coun­try.

“The real con­fronta­tion is between the coun­try’s pro­duc­tive forces and the par­a­sitic po­lit­i­cal sys­tem that was set up by state­spon­sored busi­ness­men,” said Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras, hint­ing that the “par­a­sitic” sys­tem was formed with the bless­ing of pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments.

New Democ­racy leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis coun­tered that the left­ist-led coali­tion’s “ir­re­spon­si­ble pop­ulism” has been pit­ted against the forces of re­form and truth and that nec­es­sary changes were needed to move the coun­try for­ward.

For her part, PA­SOK leader Fofi Gen­ni­mata said the real con­flict is between the forces of pro­gres­sive­ness and con­ser­vatism.

The de­bate un­folded as Greece’s ne­go­ti­a­tions with in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors over the con­clu­sion of the sec­ond re­view of the coun­try’s third bailout re­main at a stand­still.

Tsipras said he was op­ti­mistic that the stalled ne­go­ti­a­tions will soon be suc­cess­fully com­pleted, con­trary to the ex­pec­ta­tions, he said, of those who “in­vested in the gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure.”

He also in­sisted that the re­view will be con­cluded without Greece hav­ing to leg­is­late new aus­ter­ity mea­sures be­yond 2018 when the bailout pro­gram ends. “The exit from the pro­gram in mid-2018 is vis­i­ble,” he said.

Un­con­vinced, op­po­si­tion lead­ers ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of hav­ing no plan to get the coun­try back on the road to re­cov­ery, and said that it is wast­ing valu­able time with its seem- in­gly end­less ne­go­ti­a­tions with cred­i­tors.

“Never in the last seven years, since the cri­sis hit Greek so­ci­ety, has the hori­zon been so dark for the Greek ship,” Mit­so­takis said, rais­ing the alarm of an im­mi­nent fourth bailout or the dan­ger of Grexit com­ing back to the fore.

Gen­ni­mata slammed Tsipras, say­ing his tac­tics cause in­se­cu­rity and un­cer­tainty, which are the banes, she said, of the real econ­omy.

“You are mov­ing for­ward without a strat­egy, you are in­com­pe­tent and in­ef­fi­cient. You are lead­ing the coun­try to a new dead end,” she told Tsipras.

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