ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Sunday the upcoming national election is a battle between his "honorable" government of the past seven months and "the dark period of corruption, cronyism and power networks" that prevailed in previous decades.
Tsipras, leader of the left-wing Syriza party, said he is the best-placed to improve the bailout deal with Greece creditors which he himself agreed to in July and which he described as "open-ended" on several issues and subject to improvement through negotiations.
Tsipras was speaking at the Thessaloniki International Fair, where the government of the day traditionally outlines its economic program for the next year. But this year, an interim government is in power, after Tsipras and his coalition government resigned on Aug. 20, following the defection of dozens of lawmakers from his party.
Tsipras outlined a government program whose reformist agenda, on education, health, employment, the economy and the civil service, has been, with a few variations, echoed by previous governments but, with exceptions, never implemented.
To put his own progressive stamp on policies, Tsipras said his economic policy would be based on "strong government intervention, with (state) investment to redistribute incomes."
He also accused his conservative opponents of championing mass layoffs and flexible forms of work, while he would promote "collaborative social economy ventures with subsidized wage costs."
The latest polls in the run-up to the Sept. 20 election show Tsipras' Syriza and conservative New Democracy almost neck-and-neck and likely nine parties entering Parliament, making a coalition government almost a certainty.
Two polls published Sunday, by research firms Kapa Research and Marc, show Syriza leading New Democracy by 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent respectively, with no party close to getting 30 percent of the vote. In both polls, the extreme right, anti-migrant Golden Dawn is in third place. The size of undecided respondents is 11.6 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively.
The Kapa Research poll was conducted Sept. 2-3, with a sample of 1,015 and an error margin of plus or minus 3.08 percentage points. The Marc poll was conducted Sept. 1-4, with a sample of 1,032 and an error margin of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
Costas Kantouris contributed to this report from Thessaloniki.