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Greece: Case made for elections in the fall

The results of the French elections, which have created a murky situation in the second largest power in Europe, have come to the forefront as an additional argument for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to consider autumn polls as the best choice for the government to clear the political landscape ahead of the winter.

Purveyors of this view cite the protracted energy crisis and the uncertainty regarding the war in Ukraine as two important reasons for bringing forward the election time.

Mitsotakis himself on Tuesday hinted at a link between the messages of the French elections and the Greek ones, in an interview with the Capital website, focusing on the phenomenon of abstention observed in France.

“The phenomenon of France, especially with regard to the abstention that has been observed, is too fresh to ignore,” he said, while again leaving a window for ballot boxes in the fall, in the case, as he said, of prolonged polarisation on the part of the main opposition.

“I have said many times that my intention is to serve the four years, because I consider this to be institutionally correct and imperative,” he said. However, at the same time he stressed that a prolonged and polarized pre-election period “is definitely something that the country does not need.”

In this context, he called on the opposition parties “to discuss our political disagreements with logic and moderation.”

He added that a litmus test of the opposition’s intentions is the “very important” bill for higher education, which will be voted on in July.

“This will also be a measure of how the opposition perceives the political confrontation and how much it ultimately seeks to escalate things,” he said.

What is clear is that the government and ruling New Democracy are making moves that hint at a strong possibility that there will be elections in early September.

A case in point was the new announcements on Tuesday by Mitsotakis at a cabinet meeting regarding the Fuel Pass 2, the new fuel subsidy, which will cover three months, July, August and September, aimed at more than 3 million drivers, as well the earlier return to farmers of the special consumption tax at the the beginning of August for the oil they bought in the first half of 2022.