Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Macron ready to return to electoral grid
All three are faithful ambassadors of reformist and ambitious leadership. While the Italian, who was dismissed in late 2016, has remained discreet on the public scene, the other two still occupy the frontlines of European political life. The Greek, 55, elected prime minister of his country in 2019 – a parliamentary regime – is now fighting for another term. If his party is overwhelmingly victorious in Sunday’s legislative elections, he can no longer claim a parliamentary majority. “We are heading for new elections (…) as soon as possible”, Kyriakos Mitsotakis reacted the next day during a meeting with the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou. Faced with the risk of political instability, the date mentioned for new elections is 25 June.
test in ego
After ten years of economic crisis and severe austerity, the head of government has a very solid economic record. Unemployment, the highest in the Eurozone just five years ago, has fallen below 11%. The minimum wage, tripled, is now 780 euros. Tax revenue in March 2023 exceeded the target by 12.4%. By 2026, the debt ratio should fall 36% to 135%, and the Greek deficit would then overtake Italy’s. Allocating 10 billion euros for energy. Greece also affords the luxury of posting a small budget surplus of 0.1% at the end of 2022.
However, the ornate prime minister, like Macron with an image of an arrogant technocrat, has, like him, failed to take electoral advantage of his good economic performance. “When I observe these two leaders, I see a Europe that has a long-term, liberal and reforming vision, underlined Maria Diamantopoulou, the candidate of the Conservative Party for Greeks Abroad living in Paris. For example For, today, we are talking about Greece 2.0, with far less bureaucracy. Unthinkable a few years ago.”
It is not difficult to compare the French president and the Greek head of government. Retail near the Greek, which is starting again in a new election battle. Similar prestigious university courses: Sci-PO and ENA (now INSP) for one, Harvard Business School for the other. Both cut their teeth in banking, Rothschild for Macron, McKinsey for Mitsotakis and the National Bank of Greece. Political analyst Andreas Drimiotis believes, “They speak the same language. They have a structured view, which prioritizes financial markets, which is essential to the image that their country projects on the international scene, and less sensitive to controversies. They should know that if the markets go wild, it will be an economic tsunami.”
Macron and Mitsotakis did not hesitate to run marathons in contact with the population and use all the new tools of well-honed communication. “If some consider them haughty and sometimes contemptible, it is because they are trying to pull their country up and do not want to be ‘normal'”, defends one of Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ advisers. . A reason that undoubtedly explains the mistrust of a section of the electorate towards him.
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But the decline in popularity of the Greek prime minister is also due to other reasons. First, his reputation was tarnished by a dark wiretapping affair in which dozens of politicians, journalists and economic leaders were monitored by the secret services. Above all, Mitsotakis faced popular condemnation after the February 28 railway tragedy, which claimed 57 victims, many of whom were youth. “This drama has demonstrated the failure and negligence of some infrastructures, such as railroads, comments pollster Angelos Sertakos, head of the Investigations Division of the Prorata Institute. Even if he is not solely responsible, Even this anger necessarily refers to the party in power.”
The word “assassin” is chanted in processions and officials are called to answer, increasing calls for the resignation of Kyriakos Mitsotakis. On 8 March, at the height of the mobilization, there were at least 65,000 of them in the streets, including 40,000 in the capital.
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Aside from their economic similarities, Macron and Mitsotakis maintain bonds of friendship to this day. A relationship born in the summer of 2020, when Greece was under threat from neighboring Turkey. In a show of force, Ankara conducted an exercise escorted by warships in the Aegean Sea. Despite declarations of support from the United Nations, NATO and the European Union, Athens felt quite isolated. No one took action except Emmanuel Macron. Thanks to the intervention of fighters and French ships in the form of a military exercise, the Turkish artillery returned. Andreas Drimiotis concludes, “Misotakis returned the favor, all things considered, during the Aukas scandal and Australia’s cancellation of the order for French submarines. It was at this time that Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that he would withdraw three Belharra was buying a frigate.”
Even if Paris cannot officially support candidate Mitsotakis, it should nevertheless be noted that ten days before the vote on Sunday, Clément Boun, Minister of Transport, is all set to announce closer cooperation with the SNCF in Greece. were received with honours. And better heal the wounds left by the head-on collision of two trains in late February.
a first lady as an ambassador
His non-conformist personality attracted the attention of the Greek media. Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis met her husband, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on a bench at the prestigious Harvard Business School. After a long stint at Deutsche Bank in London, he decided to quit everything in 2013 to help his country, which was plunging into crisis. He then created Zeus + Dion, a ready-to-wear haute couture brand inspired by ancient Greece. immediate success. But when her husband became the Prime Minister, she had to give up the leadership.
Since then, the First Lady – who was separated from her husband for five years – has become an ambassador of Greek art. On May 24, she will welcome, during the award ceremony, the winner of the Pritzker Prize, the British architect David Chipperfield chosen to transform the Archaeological Museum of Athens. Fluent in English and French, she quickly formed a close friendship with Brigitte Macron. This episode is said to have played an important role in the Franco-Greek idiom.
Mareva Grabowski-Misotakis. This banker met her husband at Harvard. Credit: Alexandros Vlachos / EPA / MaxPPP
by Alexia Keflas