PM Alexis Tsipras: Democracy cannot not be threatened or blackmailed

“In 10 days Greece will complete four years since the day of the great political change, the great overthrow of the old political system. Because this is what January 25, 2015 signaled. A great political overthrow. Which did not come out of the blue. It was the result of Greece’s biggest financial crisis in the past 100 years. But it was mainly the result of the management of this crisis by the political leaders and of the political choices and practices of the four decades that led up to the 2010 default,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday, addressing a parliamentary debate that will conclude with the holding of a vote of confidence in his government.

“The dawn of 2019 is the dawn of a new era for Greece,” Tsipras said, in his speech to lawmakers.

The government succeeded in leading Greece to an exit from this crisis and the memorandum programmes while keeping society intact, he added, stressing that the main concern was not only to get out of the programme but to put the social majority in focus.

“In 2019 Greece will be another country. It is a stabilised country with an upgraded role in the international community and our wider region. A country that finally leaves behind the social desolation caused by New Democracy and PASOK in the period 2010-2015. It is a country proceeding with dignity on the road of social solidarity, based on the struggle for equality and justice. This is not an easy road. But we have already made the first steps,” Tsipras said.

On the FYROM name issue, he said: “My conscience and my patriotic duty required to make use of this historic opportunity to resolve the FYROM name issue, knowing that I will sustain a political cost.”

As for his cooperation with the Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, Tsipras said that “everything we succeeded in doing was a result of our cooperation with ANEL, a party with which we had great ideological differences.”

It was inevitable, he added, that these political and ideological differences “would at some point produce their effects.” Commenting on Kammenos’ decision to withdraw from the coalition government, Tsipras said that he did not consider it was correct but had to respect it.

“I believe he could quite easily continue to maintain his different point of view and position, without withdrawing his confidence in the government. Without voting against the government and the results for which he also fought and struggled. But I will respect his choice,” Tsipras stressed.

The prime minister asked lawmakers for “clear solutions and a responsible stance”, reminding them that the present government had led the country out of the memorandum programmes, restored normality, protected workers and safeguarded social cohesion.

He underlined that the constitution allows the government another nine months to complete its work. For this reason, he said, ” I am asking for a reaffirmation of parliament’s confidence in the government, in order to be able to proceed with all these great and important steps.”

“I urge you to speak and take an honest stand before your conscience and the interests of the country and its people, giving a clear answer: Do you trust this government to continue or not,” Tsipras said.

“Freely, openly, with boldness and on the basis of what is dicated by the political criterion, ethics and conscience of each and every one in this room. That is, in a nutshell, the power of democracy. And democracy in this country, after so many struggles and so many sacrifices, cannot not be threatened or blackmailed. Democracy will prevail,” the prime minister said.