Straight on the heels of a triple electoral triumph in European, mayoral, and regional elections, main opposition conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has decided to do away with large electoral rallies in favour of meetings nationwide with small groups of voters for interactive discussions on various subject areas in New Democracy’s programme.
The days in the 1980’s when Pasok and New Democracy gathered literally hundreds of thousands of supporters at Syntagma Square rallies are long gone and the two biggest parties’ rallies before the recent elections were sparsely attended, especially PM Alexis Tsipras’ last campaign speech in Syntagma Square on 24 May, two days before the European Parliament election.
Mitsotakis: No one -on- one debate with Tsipras
Mitsotakis told ANT1 television in a 3 June interview, just one day after ND’s clean sweep in local elections nationwide – that he has also ruled out a one-on-one debate with Tsipras.
In the same interview Mitsotakis categorically declared that he will not fire any civil servants and that he will not have any future cooperation with former Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos, who on 1 June left the Movement for Change following a clash with party leader Fofi Gennimata.
He said that instead he is willing to hold as many debates as his opponents want on specific topics with the leaders of all parliamentary political parties (save extreme-right, neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, with which all other parties have no contact).
The reasoning behind the town hall type meetings is that Mitsotakis can explain and elucidate the planks in ND’s platform while at the same time registering citizens’ concerns, fears, and aspirations so that they may be taken into account and incorporated in New Democracy’s programme.
“Mr. Mitsotakis very consciously over the last year-and-a-half opted for this new mode of communication with citizens. Instead of rallies, New Democracy has organised many thematic events with a smaller audience. That facilitates direct dialogue with citizens with a question-and-answer format,” a party source told journalists.
Focus on social media
Party officials say that the campaign will place a strong emphasis on social media, especially for informing young voters – one of the many social groups that gave New Democracy it huge lead in European and local elections – that are distrustful toward political parties and politicians.