Tsipras promises to exhaust 4-year term; Athens gained maximum benefit from Prespa agreement

Monday, 15 April 2019 20:50
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday evening reiterated that he'll insist on serving out his entire four-year term, and then some, i.e. up until mid-October 2019.

Appearing in the studio of the Athens-based Ant1 station during the live prime-time newscast, Tsipras downplayed the results of all mainstream opinion polls over the past two years, which show his hard left SYRIZA party trailing center-right New Democracy (ND) by high single-digit to double-digit percentage points.

"I am used to losing in the polls and winning at the ballot box," Tsipras merely said. He also downplayed the possible effect that next month's local government and European Parliament elections will have on his decision, a major departure from his position in 2014.

Five years ago Tsipras, who at the time was the main opposition leader, pointed to his party's first-place showing in the European Parliament election as proof that the then Samaras coalition government had essentially lost its mandate to govern.

Asked about the landmark, but also contentious Prespa agreement, Tsipras said that whatever political costs it entails does not worry him.

"It solves a (bilateral) difference dating back several years, allowing them (North Macedonia) to become our partners. I was lucky to have this opportunity.

"What I know is that on the Internet when you now write 'Macedonia', the neighboring country doesn't pop up. They changed their name; the constitution, billboards and signs. What else could we do? We gained the maximum benefit from this agreement," he added.  

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