Samaras pledges no new taxes, gradual cuts

Conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras declared on Thursday that if his party wins general elections on June 17, ND will seek to scale back taxes and boost jobs as part of an overall renegotiation of the country’s debt deal with its international creditors.

“We pledge no new taxes and no more horizontal cuts,” Samaras told members of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry during a speech that set out his party’s 18-point economic policy program. “The era of taxing incomes that do not exist is over,” he said.

The ND leader said he would seek to scale back some taxes and replace others, such as a property tax introduced last fall, with “fairer” levies.

He also repeated a pledge to revoke cuts to low-level pensions and to the salaries of police and air force employees as well as to boost the languishing job market. Another priority was to help indebted households to repay their dues to banks, he said.

On the thorny issue of 11.7 billion euros in public spending cuts that Greece’s creditors have demanded by the end of 2013, Samaras said that these should be made gradually over the next four years.

New Democracy, which agreed to Greece’s debt deal along with socialist PASOK in February, would save the country from “suffocation” and secure its future in the eurozone, Samaras said. In contrast, leftist SYRIZA, with which ND is approximately level in opinion polls, “will bring about isolation from Europe.” “The unilateral rejection of our agreements will push us out of the euro,” he said, indicating that his leftist rivals were dangerous and would set Greece decades back. “They are like children playing with matches in an arsenal,” he said, adding, “They want a return to the days of the big state.”

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is to unveil his party’s policies on Friday.

The 37-year-old leader has insisted that rejecting Greece’s debt deal will not necessarily push the country out of the eurozone. 

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