Tsipras warns Greeks against return to 'corrupt' past

Athens: Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said the upcoming national election is a battle between his "honorable" government of the past seven months and "the dark period of corruption, cronyism and power networks" that prevailed in previous decades.

Tsipras, leader of the left-wing Syriza party, yesterday said he is the best-placed to improve the bailout deal with Greece creditors which he himself agreed to in July and which he described as "open-ended" on several issues and subject to improvement through negotiations.

Tsipras was speaking at the Thessaloniki International Fair, where the government of the day traditionally outlines its economic program for the next year. But this year, an interim government is in power, after Tsipras and his coalition government resigned on August 20, following the defection of dozens of lawmakers from his party.

Alexis Tsipras. File Pic/AFP

Tsipras outlined a government programme whose reformist agenda, on education, health, employment, the economy and the civil service, has been, with a few variations, echoed by previous governments but, with exceptions, never implemented.

To put his own progressive stamp on policies, Tsipras said his economic policy would be based on "strong government intervention, with (state) investment to redistribute incomes."

He also accused his conservative opponents of championing mass layoffs and flexible forms of work, while he would promote "collaborative social economy ventures with subsidised wage costs."

The latest polls in the run-up to the September 20 election show Tsipras' Syriza and conservative New Democracy almost neck-and-neck and likely nine parties entering Parliament, making a coalition government almost a certainty.

Two polls published yesterday, by research firms Kapa Research and Marc, show Syriza leading New Democracy by 0.6 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively, with no party close to getting 30 per cent of the vote. In both polls, the extreme right, anti-migrant Golden Dawn is in third place. The size of undecided respondents is 11.6 per cent and 14.1 per cent, respectively.

The Kapa Research poll was conducted September 2-3, with a sample of 1,015 and an error margin of plus or minus 3.08 percentage points. The Marc poll was conducted September 1-4, with a sample of 1,032 and an error margin of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

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