National elections in Greece will take place at the end of the four-year term, in October, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, responding to main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis during the plenary discussion on ratifying FYROM’s accession to NATO.
“In Greece, elections will be held at the end of the four-year term, you’d better get used to it,” Tsipras said, adding in reference to European Parliamentary elections in May, “you will suffer a terrible disappointment of your expectations at the European election ballot box,” because the Greek people will realise that polls giving Mitsotakis’ party New Democracy a lead “were fake.”
“All your narratives have been proven wrong,” Tsipras told the main opposition leader, “and you have fallen into all the traps you yourself set.” The day after national elections, the prime minister asserted, “you will have a major issue explaining to your party and the Greek people how the expectations you had cultivated were proven wrong.”
The prime minister acknowledged the differences in political opinions as “natural”, but said that there was always a limit to political disagreements and that Mitsotakis had exceed it.
Responding to the ND leader’s criticism about the use of the name ‘Macedonia’ in the neighbour’s name, he said he would welcome the prime minister of the Republic of North Macedonia with the same name all other leaders call him, as prime minister of North Macedonia, and as Slavomacedonian prime minister. “But you would never do that, you would welcome him as a Skopjan. You would not do it because the nationalist tendency of your party won’t let you and because you will never become prime minister,” Tsipras said.
The prime minister called on Mitsotakis to treat national issues “more seriously” and of rushing to judge his visit to Ankara to meet with the Turkish president. He also accused him of taking his political stances “on the basis of the whims and wills of the extreme wing of your party instead of the country’s interests,” a stance that is “irresponsible and nationally dangerous.”
New Democracy may disagree with all issues of the government’s foreign policy, “but it doesn’t establish its position, it just disagrees with everything,” Tsipras said. He continued, “You disagree with a foreign policy that exudes self-confidence and recognition for Greece’s upgraded role internationally. But you don’t tell us what exactly your position is. You tell us: Don’t proceed to resolve the Macedonian issue, leave it as we did for 30 years. Don’t encourage the inclusion of the neighbouring country in the EU. Don’t proceed to talks that improve our relations with Albania. Don’t speak to Turkey.”
Tsipras also turned his criticism to Fofi Gennimata, leader of Movement for Change, asking her to define her position in European parties. “Listening to Mr. Mitsotakis’ positions, I understand that you countersign everything he says – your criticism of the government on all issues is from first to last identical to what Mr. Mitsotakis says.”
Wrapping up his address, the prime minister said, “Today’s brings to completion the most significant cycle of obligations resulting from the Prespes Agreement that relate to Greece. As of tomorrow, the obligations return to our neighbours,” who should send a formal request to all members of the United Nations and all other organisations, and to the 140 countries that currently recognise them as “Republic of Macedonia” to change that to “Republic of North Macedonia”.
“I would like once again from this podium to welcome North Macedonia, a friendly country to Greece, a country that should support instead of fighting our efforts to establish security, stability and cooperation in the greater region,” Tsipras said.