Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis took center-stage just after 8 p.m. (local time) at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Saturday evening, beginning his address with a reference to last month's deadly wildfire at the Mati settlement, while stressing that the country finds itself amid a whirlwind of "lies" and an attack against the rule of law, a direct reference to the three-and-a-half years in power of the leftist-rightist Tsipras coalition government.
"Citizens' sense of security, the rule of law as the last refuge of the weakest; an economy that creates jobs and opportunities for progress for all. These are the factors that comprise a 'contract of trust' between society and the state, one that we can implement," he said, emphasizing ND's latest slogan of "BoroUme", reminiscent of the 2008 Obama campaign and Greek for "We Can".
He also emphasize that the dangers from the past eight years of bailouts has not passed, saying the country can still not foray into international sovereign markets for borrowing.
In a televised address and amid a packed hall at the main convention center, he asked, rhetorically, if people are better off now than they were when hard left SYRIZA assumed power in a snap election.
Αmong others, he again promised that the right to vote from their place of residence will be granted to Greek citizens living abroad, as tens of thousands of young and high-skilled Greeks left the country over the past eight years.
Mitsotakis, who served as a reform-minded public administration minister prior to 2015, also stressed that the process of evaluation will be employed everywhere.
"The SYRIZA-AN.EL (coalition government) destroyed whatever positive existed from the past. They're not just going to go as defeated, but primarily in disgrace. SYRIZA is leaving, divisiveness is ending and a rejuvenated Greece is coming," he said, referring to the mostly leftist government's junior coalition partner, the rightwing and populist Independent Greeks' (AN.EL) party.
As numerous Greek politicians before him over the past decades - prime ministers and opposition party leaders - Mitsotakis ticked off a list of targets and axes for future policy, if elected, i.e. "opportunities for all"; an economy based on productivity, innovation and a "road map" for investments; a more democratic and functional system; linking education with the job market, teacher evaluations; considering the rule of law and for security for citizens as a necessary condition for democracy; ensuring that Greece is not just a country belonging to Europe and NATO, but one that is on equal footing with its partners, a country that exploits the spirit of expatriate Greeks everywhere in the country.
"We're starting the conveyor belt of social advancement. We're going to provide opportunities to the children of hard-working Greeks, to live better than their parents," he stressed, while immediately adding a constitutional ban on private, non-state/non-profit universities will finally be lifted.