Pushing the date of general elections earlier is a matter of sensitivity towards democracy, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an interview to state broadcaster ERT1 on Tuesday night, confirming that snap elections will be held on July 7.
Speaking to journalist Serafim Kotrotsos, Tsipras said that he intends to meet with Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Monday, June 10, to ask him for early elections (the government's term ends in October, but the premier said after disappointing results in the European Parliament elections that he would ask the Greek president for the dissolution of parliament and snap elections. The government spokesman has said elections will be held on July 7).
The prime minister and SYRIZA leader said that it is the first time on a European level that a government and a prime minister receive a message for elections and speed up the date, following the European elections. "The country will go to the ballot boxes in an orderly fashion", he asserted.
Referring to the government's initiatives, the premier said that next week would see a draft law in parliament to abolish the tax-free threshold. He said the measure would go into effect on January 1, 2020, and he challenged New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis to attend parliament and vote for the amendment and for the penal and criminal process codes, the latter of which are already in parliament.
The main opposition leader has accused Tsipras of trying to pass last-minute laws before elections are declared and has said his party will not attend parliament.
Asked whether Greece's creditors (the European Commision, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) know of the government's initiative on the tax-free threshold, PM Tsipras said they know of it and there is agreement on it.
He warned that the question of whether the measures will be implemented or cast into doubt will depend on the results of the July 7 elections, and criticised ND for its position of the relief measures the government announced and passed in parliament. He also pointed out the 83 pct of the tax burdens Greek society feels "were introduced by those who are now appearing as saviours". The Europarliament vote, he said, reflects the accumulated exhaustion of the middle class and showed up in the ballot box.
Tsipras said his government "will go after fundamental policy dialogue, despite the fact Mitsotakis wants to avoid" that. "We have announced a reduction of taxes" he said, charging the main opposition with a "secret agenda" leaked accidentally by its members.