In a much-anticipated speech, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras unveiled the main pillars of his party’s economic policy platform on Saturday, focusing on debt relief from the eurozone, the use of European Union funds to boost employment, a reduction in taxes and an increase of wages and pensions.
Although the government passed its latest amendments to the troubled single property tax (ENFIA) on Thursday, the atmosphere surrounding the ballot underlined that all is not well within the coalition.
Positive news from Brussels has been somewhat of a rarity for Greece over the last few years but the government appears totally satisfied with the make-up of the new European Commission after it was confirmed on Wednesday that outgoing Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos would take over the newly created portfolio of immigration and home affairs.
The decline of former coalition partner Democratic Left (DIMAR) continued on Tuesday when MP Spyros Lykoudis, one of the party’s leading figures, announced he is quitting to become an independent lawmaker.
Greece is no different from other countries in that when prime ministers announce tax cuts it is usually to win over voters before elections. However, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s pledge on Saturday to reduce taxes was a little different: It was aimed at preventing elections.
PASOK’s rapid decline from a party that garnered almost 45 percent of the vote in late 2009 appears not to be over yet, with a deep internal rift threatening to split the Socialists – now polling at less than 10 percent – in two.
The brief summer lull in Greek politics is due to end this week with the meeting of coalition ministers and troika representatives in Paris due to begin on Tuesday. Although the talks will focus on technical issues, these carry high political significance in Greece.
The government has built up expectations regarding Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's economic policy speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Saturday, September 6 but the political tone for the weeks to come may be set by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras's address a week later.
Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis is emerging as the clear frontrunner in the coalition’s thinking on who it should nominate to be the next president of Greece, when incumbent Karolos Papoulias’s term ends in February.
New Democracy’s attempt to form a broad right-wing alliance designed to prevent SYRIZA winning the next elections has had a mixed response so far but the most important reaction could yet be the one from within the party itself.