August 8, 2019 — New York
This piece originally appeared in The New York Times.
To the Editor:
Re “The Adults Are Back in Charge of Greece. And They Are Really Right-Wing,” by Matthaios Tsimitakis (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, Aug. 5):
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the right-of-center Greek prime minister in office for four weeks after decisively winning a national election, deserves the opportunity to govern before being judged. Mr. Tsimitakis, a supporter of Mr. Mitsotakis’s political rival, former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, did not give him that opportunity.
The Mitsotakis administration faces daunting challenges, including attracting foreign investment, reducing unemployment and grappling with difficult regional issues. These matters cannot be solved instantaneously. All have plagued previous governments.
Moreover, Mr. Tsimitakis levels a disingenuous charge of nepotism against Mr. Mitsotakis. His nephew Kostas Bakoyannis was elected mayor of Athens by the city’s residents a month before Mr. Mitsotakis’s electoral victory. Also, Mr. Tsimitakis refers to the Holocaust-denying past of Makis Voridis, the minister of agriculture, but doesn’t note that he apologized twice to the Jewish community and that a page has been turned.
At a time when inward-looking populism is making inroads in Europe and beyond, a pro-European and pro-American leader was elected in Greece. He should be judged based on actual performance, not politicized prognostication.
The writers are, respectively, chief executive of the American Jewish Committee and executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council.