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Greek main opposition chief blasts government for handling of energy crisis

Greek main opposition chief blasts government for handling of energy crisis
Recent polls showed ruling new democracy ahead of left-wing Syriza by 9%

By Magda Panoutsopoulou

ATHENS (AA) - The head of Greece's main opposition party took aim at the government on Friday, accusing it of mismanaging the economy as energy prices and inflation continue to surge.

"Greece does not have a strong primary sector, does not have manufacturing, but a problematic production model and energy inflation that is unmatched in Europe at 62%," Alexis Tsipras said in an interview with local TV broadcaster Ant1.

According to Tsipras, who heads the Syriza party and is the predecessor of sitting Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, blamed the government for the high living costs that households and businesses currently face amid the current inflation rate of 11.4%.

"The government's responsibility is clear in terms of the way it deals with the crisis" he said, also emphasizing that energy companies should return to being under state control.

Seven out of 10 households were unable to pay their power bills and have reduced consumption of basic products, stressed Tsipras, whose administration managed a bailout process for Greece in the mid-2010s after a government debt crisis. The bailout involved austerity measures that helped the government run a budget surplus and avoid default.

"If we -- Syriza -- had not managed to settle the debt and leave a cash buffer, today the country would be in a major crisis with its head in the water," he said.

Greece, which is gearing up for elections in summer 2023, has felt the Europe-wide impact of the energy crisis resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war in the form of various challenges, including rising prices for electricity, fuel, and essential commodities.

The government has sought to lessen the financial burden on households and businesses through electricity bill and fuel vouchers.

A recent poll conducted by market researcher firm Metron Analysis, gave ruling New Democracy a lead of 9% over Syriza.

New Democracy got 29% of the votes, according to the poll, compared to 20.6% for Syriza, followed by the socialist PASOK party with 12.2%, the communist KKE with 5.1%, and nationalist Greek Solution with 4.8% and left-wing Mera25 with 3.4%.​​​​​​​

- Tensions with Türkiye

Tsipras also touched on foreign policy amid Greece's standoff with Türkiye that has seen Athens sign agreements with other countries, including France and the US, on military matters.

He argued that the military cooperation and arms deals of the current government with France did not serve Greek interests and that a 2021 defense cooperation deal with the US fell short of guaranteeing US support if tensions escalate between Athens and Ankara, both NATO member countries.

Türkiye has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent months, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under treaty, saying that such moves frustrate its good faith and efforts for peace.

* Contributions by Ahmet Gencturk from Ankara

source: News Feed
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