Tsipras stirs fears of renewed austerity, Mitsotakis runs on tax cuts, security, unity

By George Gilson

After a decade of bailout memorandum austerity, during which politics was supplanted by economic orders from Brussels, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and main opposition conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis are in the process of rebuilding without naming it as such the classic left-right dichotomy that dominated Greek politics for over three decades after the fall of the junta in 1974.

Having implemented the harsh austerity of the third bailout memorandum that he signed, Tsipras is attempting an express ideological makeover combining a belated focus on bolstering what is left of the middle class (which resoundingly turned its back on SYRIZA) with a classic left-wing distributive justice platform.

That is centred on the fiscal package that he announced on 8 May which combined a slew of social benefits and handouts with tax and insurance contribution cuts which are designed to offer relief and economic stimulus but do not constitute a comprehensive medium-to-long-term economic growth programme.

Raising fears of more austerity, blaming Brussels

SYRIZA has begun the month-long campaign leading to the 7 July general election by erecting a polarising dichotomy between SYRIZA as the caring left-wing party that is the only bulwark against a grand restoration of neo-liberal austerity that it says is expressed by New Democracy.

Tsipras has as of 6 June incorporated the EU in his narrative as he interpreted the warnings in a European Commission report issued that day on the Greek economy - which stated that his stimulus package may result in a fiscal derailment - as part of an unholy alliance between the conservative block in Brussels and ND, aiming to rescind social benefits and to reintroduce the...

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