Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he fought as hard as he could for a good deal with Greece’s lenders and that he had to call elections because the conditions of his mandate had completely changed, in his first pre-election interview on Wednesday.
“I had no right to use up the four-year term considering the circumstances had completely changed,” Tsipras told private broadcaster Alpha. “I have a clear concience.”
He said he governed for seven months with a mandate to negotiate hard with the country’s creditors and he fought as hard as he could, adding he exhausted and exceeded the limits of that mandate. He also explained that the field after July 12 was completely different and he felt proud for allowing Greeks to express their opinions on it after five years of austerity.
“I feel comfortable giving people a reason to judge me for all those things I accomplished and those I didn’t,” he said commenting on the upcoming elections.
Commenting on last month’s referendum, the premier described it as an “inspirational moment” adding that people wanted a better neotiation and not a rift with the eurozone.
“The ‘No’ to a bad deal, I turned it into a ‘Yes’ to a deal which has problems, but provides potential,” he explained, adding that “the 62 pct received by the ‘No’ vote in the referendum included a very small percentage of people who were against any deal and in favour of an exit from Europe.”
Criticizing those who support a Grexit, the premier said the drachma is not a revolutionary or leftist choice noting it wasn’t a real choice. “The battle must be given within Europe,” he said.