Beleaguered incumbent Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday sat for questions in the studio of his harshest media critic, Athens-based Skai TV, personally overturning an “embargo” against the outlet by his government and ruling SYRIZA party, days before a general election where forecasts show him losing.
The “bad blood” between Tsipras and the media group, in fact, kicked off the live prime-time interview by the station’s main newsreader and the managing director of the affiliated Athens daily “Kathimerini”.
In partially defending his previous decision to forbid ministers and deputies from appearing on Skai’s television and radio broadcasts, Tsipras said the media group “often exceeded the boundaries of criticism … in general, we’ve never seen such a concentration of media against one party.”
He also said he overturned the “shunning” because he wants a discussion over policy ahead of the election on Sunday. At the same time he charged that his main rival and opinion poll front-runner Kyriakos Mitsotakis is avoiding a one-on-one debate.
Conversely, center-right New Democracy (ND) and Mitsotakis himself pointed out that Tsipras’ office had said the latter would be at the EU summit on Monday – the date of a prospective television debate – but instead flew back from Brussels to give a campaign speech in Irakleio, Crete.
In continuing to answer questions, he dismissed views that his party collapsed in the recent European Parliament and local government races, saying that despite the dissatisfaction and fatigue over the past four-and-a-half years hard left SYRIZA still managed to pull in 24 percent.