Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday gave his inaugural speech as party president to ND’s Parliamentary group, thanking the MPs “for keeping ND upright in 2015, during the tsunami of populism that swept the country.”
“The country’s political map has changed; it is not the same from the moment that 400,000 citizens took the situation into their own hands. Their mandate is that we proceed united to the renewal of ND, so that it once again becomes a major centre-right party,” Mitsotakis said.
He warned that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras should not expect ND to act as a crutch, stepping in to give support as and when it was needed. His mandate from ND voters was to be a tough and responsible opposition, Mitsotakis added, not support Tsipras.
“ND provided support in the summer when the country was in danger of being left outside European institutions.
Following that, however, Mr. Tsipras chose his government partner after the elections,” Mitsotakis pointed out.
According to ND’s leader, the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government “was seriously harming Greece” and was the final chapter of “populism and political amoralism” that ND would now close.
Mitsotakis made a single exception on this issue of revising the Constitution, however, saying he would raise this in his first meeting with Tsipras.
Mitsotakis went on to highlight the need for Greece to attract investments and the necessity of reforms.
“We believed in the reforms, which we will explain to the Greek people. If the government does not manage to attract 100 billion euros in investments in the next years, the country will not emerge from the crisis,” he said.
On the issue of the gold mines in Skouries, Mitsotakis said the government was sending the wrong message to those thinking of investing in the country and dismissed the legality concerns invoked by the government as a mere pretext.
The newly elected ND leader then outlined his next moves in order to reorganise the party, announcing that a regular party conference will be held as soon as possible, while some possibly painful changes will be immediate, including a switch to exclusively private funding and a move away from the expensive party headquarters on Syggrou Avenue.
“ND will from now on be supported by private financing. We will appeal to our members and as for a little bit from many…We will build a party that is not ossified, which will talk with society. We will open ND to society and once again make it a dominant political force.”
He announced that the new Parliamentary group secretary will be Costas Tsiaras, with Nikos Dendias, Yiannis Vroutsis and Niki Kerameos as Parliamentary spokespeople.