Kyriakos Mitsotakis won the New Democracy leadership election in a fairly tight vote on Sunday. This was seen by most as an upset (Mitsotakis was lagging in the first round) or a reversal.
I see it more as a correction. It has remained a source of astonishment for me how the old guard politicians, having failed dismally at everything they had promised, have the gall to continue promising things they almost certainly have no intention of delivering. At last, the voters saw reason. Whatever one may think of Mitsotakis, let’s give him a chance!
Reactions in the foreign press have also been positive, pointing out that now Tsipras will no longer be ‘the only game in town’.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, 47, a graduate of Harvard and Stanford Universities, is married with three children.
He is the scion of of one of Greece’s most influential political families; a fact that has benefitted him in some ways and hampered him in others. His father Constantinos served as prime minister from 1990 to 1993 and his older sister, Dora Bakoyianni, was foreign minister from 2006 to 2009. He is always at pains to insist that, although he honors his name, he is in fact his own man.
“The mandate is clear: Creative renewal and expansion so we can provide an alternative governing solution for the country,” said Mitsotakis in a brief statement shortly before midnight. “We have a common purpose: To express all those forces that are opposed to the populism of an incompetent government.”
320,000 people turned up to vote, about 80% of voters in the first round. Political analysts on the radio this morning were praising Mitsotakis’ campaign strategy, and his agenda, which includes a reduced public sector. I’m not holding my breath, but I think it hopeful that people voted for change, and an effort to better things.
I wish Mitsotakis every success. He has a tough task ahead, in order to organise his party and make it into a fighting machine for the opposition and a vehicle of hope for Greece.
Having created more than 2000 jobs in Greece, Canadian miner Eldorado Gold Corp on Monday said it was suspending much of its mine construction and development here after a year of confrontations with the Greek government that included permits being revoked and delayed by the state.
Paul N. Wright, president and CEO of Eldorado, commented:
“Eldorado Gold has been, and remains, a committed, responsible and patient partner to the Greek government and to the people of the communities in which we operate. The projects have considerable potential with demonstrated economic and social benefits. At this time, we would instead prefer to be creating additional employment in Greece and advancing the construction and development of our Skouries and Olympias Projects in Halkidiki, as well as our assets in Thrace. However, we have a duty to all our stakeholders and the significant time and process risks created by Greece ‘s Ministry of Energy and Environment have left us with no choice but to reduce activities and personnel.”
Remember the new Bourne movie set in Athens which had to be filmed in Barcelona, for similar reasons? (See here.) This has to stop!
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is on a tour of European capitals where he is to meet his peers for talks on the implementation of Greece’s bailout program.
On Saturday we attended a performance of Jason and the Golden Fleece at the Badminton Theatre.
Families with kids in tow – some mere toddlers – lined up to buy tubs of popcorn and drinks to fortify themselves for two hours of what could only be described as an extravaganza, which proved quite as entertaining for the adults as for the children.
The cast of 25 included actors, singers, and dancers – quite a few of whom could do all three.
There were the Gods on mount Olympus, interfering with the destinies of men: Zeus and his thunderbolts, a plump and chirpy Hera, the goddess Athena, Apollo and Aphrodite. There was Hercules clad in the pelt of the Nemea lion, Orpheus the bard, and the Boreads, sons of the North wind, with their huge wings.
There were songs and dancing, acrobatics on stage and in the air, people jumping about on stilts. There were fights, mythical beasts and a love story.
There was even a zany, modern touch. One of the winged Harpies snatched a kid from his seat on the aisle and carried him away, then stole his popcorn and shared it with the rest of the cast, to great merriment. The sleepless dragon guarding the Golden Fleece showed up as a Chinese dragon snaking about the whole theater. Warriors juggled with ‘Real fire!’, as the little boy behind me said in awe.
For the finale, the whole cast danced, what else, a rousing syrtaki.