Mitsotakis promises lower taxes, growth and reform

Mitsotakis promises lower taxes, growth and reform

Thessaloniki, September 19, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Zacharias Petrou

New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis strongly attacked the government and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a press conference at the Thessaloniki International Fair on Sunday, while also setting out his ideas on economic policy and announcing a series of tax breaks he plans to implement if his party comes to power.

The main opposition party leader spoke a day after a customary address on the sidelines of an annual trade fair in the northern city of Thessaloniki.

Kyriacos Mitsotakis focused on three basic points: highlighting the failure of the current government and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, stressing the need for a new “truth pact” between voters and the political system, and appealing to Greeks who want more reforms.

The conservative leader came down strongly on PM Tsipras, saying that his only goal is to remain in power whatever the cost to the country. He asked for immediate elections in order for the people to “take democracy in their hands”.

“It is not me who is in a hurry for elections. It is the people who cannot take any more of this government” said Mitsotakis before adding that 85% of Greeks do not trust Alexis Tsipras and his administration.

If New Democracy comes to power, Mitsotakis said he plans to reduce public spending and provide incentives for investment; cut taxes by 1.9 billion euros over the next two years; reduce ENFIA property tax by 30 percent during the first two years; and carry out all the reforms agreed in the memorandum.

The conservatives have long said that such measures will put the economy back on a growth trajectory.

The ND leader also repeated that he will insist on an evaluation of employees, departments and entire entities belonging to the state sector.

Mitsotakis also sent messages to the country’s international creditors. He pointed out that Greece’s partners have a duty to see through their promise to provide debt relief. “Our government will agree with lenders to lower primary surplus targets because our government will be credible in the eyes of our partners” he added. New Democracy will cancel the Pappas Law when it comes to power. The stations and licenses will be handled by ESR, the independent authority that should be in charge according to the Constitution.

Commenting on the controversial, recent television licensing tender where four bidders were succesful, Mitsotakis said New Democracy will cancel the Pappas Law on which the TV licensing tender was based.

According to Mitsotakis, a New Democracy government will make sure the stations and licenses are handled by the National Radio and Television Council (ESR), the independent authority that should be in charge according to the Constitution. The ND leader added that “our government will not restrict the channels to 4 which in itself breeds corruption”.

“We believe this government is dangerous, not just for the economy, but because it is undermining democratic institutions.”

Finally, Mitsotakis appeared supportive of Bank of Greece Governor, Yannis Stournaras, saying his party is in favor of the central bank’s autonomy and against the slightest – even “indirect” – intervention in its work.