In the final stretch to Sunday’s national elections, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked Greek voters on Friday evening to give him and his Radical Left SYRIZA party a new chance to build a better Greece — this time without the restraints of the bailout programs.
Addressing the party’s main pre-electoral rally on Syntagma square in Athens, Tsipras called on Greeks not to erase four years of achievements and allow SYRIZA to continue and be judged for first time on its own program.
Greece exited the bailout era last August, after struggling for nine years with an acute debt crisis which brought her at the brink of default.
Being in office since January 2015, SYRIZA won a critical referendum on the terms of the third bailout on July 5, 2015, the September 2015 general elections and celebrated the successful completion of the third Greek bailout.
However, the party eventually suffered a heavy defeat in the European parliament elections and the local government elections this May and June, which triggered Sunday’s early national elections. The government’s term would end in autumn.
Many political analysts attribute the result to voters’ disappointment, because despite the positive financial indexes the real economy and the average household is still suffering.
According to all the latest opinion surveys, the conservatives of the main opposition New Democracy party will win Sunday’s battle by a large margin.
“We will not hand the keys to those who led us to bankruptcy. Today we are asked to achieve another major reversal in order to continue our course forward,” Tsipras said on Friday evening during the speech which was broadcast live by Greek national broadcaster ERT.
“Four years ago we were here again and we are here one more time standing proud, because we withstood the pressure, we did not give up and we achieved our great goal to take off the noose from the neck of Greek people,” he added, referring to the celebrations on the night of the referendum. The Leftist leader used that outcome as a bargaining tool to negotiate the final terms of the third bailout with Greece’s lenders.
“The International Monetary Fund’s hawks are no longer here, troika’s technocrats no longer make decisions for us. Greece belongs to Greeks again and this is the greatest feat and it was worth all the battles we gave united in order to achieve it,” he told the cheering crowd.
Outlining his government’s achievements in the economy, the prime minister referred to Greece’s return to growth, the reduction of unemployment rates and the increase of the minimum wage. Foreign investments are at a ten-year high, while exports, industrial production and tourism are all performing excellently, he said, according to Greek national news agency AMNA report.
“We move ahead to build a more fair and democratic Greece, a better Greece,” he stressed.