The Spokesperson of the Movement for Change and PASOK, Dimitris Mantzos, in an interview given to the newspaper “Macedonia of Sunday”, spoke, among other things, about the strict but fruitful opposition and the realistic proposals of the Movement, its popular support and processes in the political scene.
The following is his full interview:
You are sharply critical of the government for its accuracy and pandemic. Were you satisfied with the reflexes of Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the recent case starring Petros Doukas and Spilios Libanos and the expulsion of the latter?
We have chosen the path of strong but fruitful opposition. We are facing the Government of political and technocratic inadequacy, a Government that has essentially failed in every crisis it has been called upon to manage. First with the pandemic, then with the wave of precision, and recently with the consequences of the climate crisis. Especially when it proves how resilient is the partisan mentality that survives to this day in the SW. Even a natural disaster is “tooled” to extract political benefit – to “turn” the game. It is the same “booty state” mentality that survives the record number of converts or the unworthy appointments of hospital administrators. With one expulsion and one deletion, the responsibilities of the Karamanlis Government for the economic and moral bankruptcy of the country in 2009 cannot be forgotten.
Really, why don’t you say “yes” to going to the polls, a request that SYRIZA has repeatedly made, especially now that the polls also favor you?
SYRIZA just last August told us that we can not talk about elections with fifty deaths a day. And today, with more than double the numbers, he says the opposite! We count our words responsibly. The Movement for Change is the only party that should have called for elections “here and now”, if it decided only on the basis of party affiliation. However, we have the public interest as our compass and we recognize the great problems that the pandemic continues to cause, due to the oligarchy of the Government. We can not impose the elections but we are obviously waiting for them. Speed has virtue!
Are the percentages of the polls and the expectations that they create in the voters, stress you? Are you ready;
The distinct social support of our Movement breeds optimism and boosts our self-confidence. At the same time, the high expectations of our citizens create a sense of responsibility. We know where we want to go and how we will achieve it. We must work hard, with seriousness and documentation to formulate our programmatic speech for Greece of tomorrow. We already do it every day. We will be ready whenever the elections are called.
Do you think that we have entered the pre-election period informally?
We are approaching the last year of the Government’s constitutional term. As a matter of fact, we have entered a pre-election pace. This is perhaps confirmed by the Government’s study to promote a number of photographic devices and arrangements in Parliament. I hope we will not see this pathogenesis intensify in the coming months.
KINAL has emphasized the accuracy that affects society. Your president has made contacts with both market representatives and representatives of consumer organizations, while a topical question has already been answered in Parliament. In your opinion, what are the actions that the government should take immediately to stop this increase in prices of goods and energy?
Accuracy and the wave of price increases in energy and basic consumer goods are the most serious social issue in the coming months. As long as the Government refuses to abandon the doctrine “I give little to the many and much to the few”, there will be no solution. We listened to the world of work, trade, industry, all the social partners, in a model social dialogue. We do not look at the symptoms but at the causes of the problem. Why are we e.g. so dependent on gas? Why are we getting our energy more expensive than other EU countries? And so we came up with a mix of short-term and long-term measures that we believe should be adopted here and now: reduction of VAT on basic items, reduction of VAT, new EKAS for low-income retirees, investments in RES, new program “I save” are some of them. Costed, studied and realistic. Far from the populism of “magic solutions”.
Lately, the tones between ND and KINAL are often rising, reminiscent of times from the past. Are you “fascinated” by the fact that you are entering the government’s sights?
The more the Movement’s influence in society increases, the more the ND and SYRIZA attacks against us will intensify. The Government is especially suffering lately from a rare “hearing aid” towards PASOK and the positions we express. He tries to deconstruct our speech in this way, but he does it unskillfully and completely casually. He accuses us of “neutrality” when we are the only party that has submitted realistic proposals for any serious social issue. The Government must make a decision: we are not SYRIZA. We, of course, strongly criticize the Government, but we do not dwell only on that. We are coming forward with proposals and interventions on all major issues. And this makes sense to make their lives difficult. They have to get used to it.
The recent internal party process and the large turnout brought to the doorstep of Charilaou Trikoupi executives and voters who in the recent past turned their backs on KINAL. For whom is the door open?
The call of the Movement is wide and wide. It concerns all citizens who share the same ideas, common visions for a more just, open society, for a strong welfare state and another productive model. The principles of social democracy that are gaining ground throughout Europe. All citizens, regardless of what they voted for in previous years, are watching with interest the return of the Democratic Party. The door is, therefore, open to those who did not take care to close it behind themselves, promoting their opportunistic personal interest.
The attitude of your party the day after the elections remains a big issue, as long as the autonomy that Mr. Mitsotakis aims at does not appear in the polls. SYRIZA has announced in advance that it will send you an invitation. Given the culture of co-operation governments that exists in Europe – Mr. Androulakis is an MEP, do you “see” the possibility of co-operation with one of the first two?
It is too early to talk about post-election collaborations. Quite simply because such a debate is based on the current balance of power. We are sure that the scene will change significantly in the elections. And that is our only goal. To be that Sunday as strong as possible so that from the very next day we are the catalyst for developments. The stronger the mandate we receive, the more possible it will be to overthrow the current dead-end policies.
After the election of the new leadership, what is the roadmap for the completion of the reconstruction of the party?
Our Movement has a statute, functions and organs. Our conference, to be held in the coming months, is the democratic forum where all relevant issues will be discussed. We move forward with unity, progressive identity and renewed dynamics.
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