Conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Friday night called on Greeks to back his party to secure the country’s future in the eurozone and ward off the “drachma lobby” in his last campaign speech ahead of a general election tomorrow that promises to be a two-horse race between the conservatives and leftist SYRIZA, which rejects the country’s bailout. Addressing a moderately sized but lively crowd in central Syntagma Square, Samaras said that the stakes at tomorrow’s election were higher than ever. “Our existence as a nation is at stake,” he said.
The conservative leader accused his rival, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, of putting the country’s eurozone position in jeopardy. But, he said, the leftist’s strategy would backfire. “Mr Tsipras wants to reject the debt deal but he will end up signing a much worse memorandum later,” he said.
He added that SYRIZA was not the only problem but there was also the “drachma lobby.” “We know there is the lobby of the drachma that is trying to push Greece out of the euro,” he said, referring vaguely to oligarchs who have taken their money out of Greece “with the aim of returning and buying everything at half-price.”
Samaras, who had initially objected to Greece’s bailout, said that a modified version of the deal was the only recipe for Greece to emerge from a crushing two-year debt crisis.
He said ND was seeking “a government of national salvation” that would renegotiate the memorandum and keep Greece in the eurozone. The leftists want the opposite, he said. “SYRIZA wants lack of governance and new elections. But there will be no third elections. The economy, the society, the banking system, the foreigners cannot handle the uncertainty of extended Greek instability.”
The conservative leader declared that his party was the only one capable of guaranteeing security amid rising crime and a growing population of illegal immigrants. He said that SYRIZA, by pledging to disarm riot police and offer greater rights to immigrants, would aggravate both problems. “While Greek families struggle, SYRIZA offers immigrants unemployment benefits and travel documents,” he said. Samaras called for a crackdown on immigrants. “The mass invasion of immigrants will stop and the mass return to their homelands will begin.”
Elsewhere in Athens, the leaders of smaller parties gave their last shot at winning round voters while Tsipras spoke in the northern port of Thessaloniki.