Hand­out spree ahead of polls

With lo­cal and Euro­pean elec­tions in May, PM em­barks on prom­ise-filled cam­paign to bridge gap with ND

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

With his eye on pos­si­ble early na­tional elec­tions as well as lo­cal and Euro­pean Par­lia­ment polls in May, Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras yes­ter­day an­nounced yet more hand­outs dur­ing a visit to the south­east­ern Aegean is­land of Ka­lym­nos.

More specif­i­cally, he an­nounced a pilot pro­gram of fuel sub­si­dies to small and re­mote is­lands that will run from Jan­uary 1 un­til 2021 and carry a price tag of 570 mil­lion eu­ros.

Two days ear­lier, Tsipras had an­nounced an emer­gency ben­e­fit to­tal­ing 42 mil­lion eu­ros for 40,000-45,000 live­stock breed­ers, while he later raised the is­sue of Ger­man war repa­ra­tions dur­ing a tour of Achaia in the north­ern Pelo­pon­nese.

He is slated to ad­dress a SYRIZA rally in Thes­sa­loniki on De­cem­ber 14, to co­in­cide with a speech by con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis on the open­ing day of New Democ­racy’s party congress.

The choice of Thes­sa­loniki as a lo­ca­tion for his speech also sig­ni­fies an ef­fort to min­i­mize the dam­age to the govern­ment stem­ming from the name deal signed with the For­mer Yu­goslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia (FYROM), which is highly un­pop­u­lar in the north­ern port city.

More­over, in the last two weeks, Tsipras has an­nounced a re­duc­tion in the so­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions of some 250,000 non­salaried work­ers and the cuts to the highly un­pop­u­lar ENFIA prop­erty tax.

Mean­while, Greece’s first post-bailout bud­get is be­ing touted by the govern­ment as a har­bin­ger of pos­i­tive news for the coun­try’s dis­il­lu­sioned elec­torate as it in­cludes a rise in the min­i­mum wage, which is ex­pected to go ahead as early as Jan­uary.

The left­ist leader’s moves come amid re­ports that pro­ce­dures are be­ing ex­pe­dited to bring the Mace­do­nia name deal for rat­i­fi­ca­tion – es­sen­tially spell­ing the end of the coali­tion govern­ment, given that ju­nior part­ner, In­de­pen­dent Greeks (ANEL), has made clear that it will step down once the agree­ment goes to Par­lia­ment.

Ob­servers reckon that, ar­mored with this batch of mea­sures, Tsipras may con­sider snap elec­tions even be­fore May if the govern­ment finds it­self on the back foot due to the name deal and the con­tro­versy over changes to church-state re­la­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.