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Reagan Style Reformer Wins Big in Greece

Reagan Style Reformer Wins Big in Greece
Greek Prime Minister-elect Kyriakos Mitsotakis, interviewed in Washington DC, March 31, 2018 by Newsmax's John Gizzi.  (Courtesy of Thanasis Bakolas)

By Sunday, 07 July 2019 08:37 PM Current | Bio | Archive

“History-making,” and even “historic” were some of the adjectives used Sunday night to characterize the smashing victory of the New Democracy (conservative) Party in Greece’s national election.

In results that upended the four-year reign of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza (Party of the Radical Left) Party, voters gave an outright majority (158 seats) in the 300-seat Greek parliament to New Democracy.

These results came less than a month after traditional conservative parties throughout Western Europe were badly thrashed in contests for seats in the European Parliament. 

The office of prime minister will shift from far-leftist Tsipras to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, head of New Democracy and a conservative reformer in the mold of Ronald Reagan. 

Mitsotakis, son of the late Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis, met with Newsmax on March 31, 2018 — ironically, just before both of us ran into former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, a friend of his and a prominent Greek-American.

At the time, Mitsotakis spelled out to us his vision of reform for debt-wracked Greece.

“The reforms we are talking about will be in public administration and education reform,” he told us, “in privatization, and in reform of the judicial system. Pensions will also be critical. At some point, we need to rethink the architecture of the whole system. I want to use the private sector to do this.”

But a “Prime Minister Mitsotakis” insisted he would wrestle hardest with public pensions. In Greece where one out of five citizens worked for government, the obligation to provide pensions almost wrecked the Greek economy.

“There will be pension reform in Greece but it has to be structural—not cutting pensions right and left,” said Mitsotakis, “What I want is more ownership of pension contributions with the logic of the 401(k): you have a mandatory obligation to save for your own private retirement. You’re entitled to manage these funds in the best way that you consider appropriate. And the government sees that they are properly regulated.”

In August 2018, after nearly a decade wracked by its debt crisis that rose to 323 billion euros, Greece emerged from its bailouts.  This was largely due to Greece's creditors agreeing to a 10-year extension of maturities on 96.6 billion euros of loans.  In addition, Greece was granted a ten-year grace period in interest.

At the time, Prime Minister Tsipras proclaimed there would be “enough debt relief” from its creditors to make a “clean exit.”

Mitsotakis saw it differently and told Newsmax: “'A clean exit; is never going to happen because the Europeans are going to ask for an enhanced supervision mechanism in order to make sure Greece stays on the right track after the program.”

The only formula that will keep Greece “on the right track,” he said, is “a pro-reform, center-right competent form of government [that] can deliver the policies that will again make Greece an attractive place for global investment, domestic capital, and the creation of private sector jobs.”

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"History-making," and even "historic" were some of the adjectives used Sunday night to characterize the smashing victory of the New Democracy (conservative) Party in Greece's national election.
reagan, mitsotakis, greece, tsipras, debt, trump
Sunday, 07 July 2019 08:37 PM
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