On the one hand, a recount of what has so far been achieved and the planning of the next steps. On the other hand, pre-election planning – the goals ahead of the polls, the rhetoric, and the New Democracy stratgey overall. These are the two agendas that have simultaneously been opened at the prime minister’s table in the first for 2023 closed (generally unannounced) discussions in his office at the Maximos Mansion.

A number of government and party officials knew early on that they would not have the luxury of extending the Christmas break this week as they had been alerted to the schedule of meetings under the Prime Minister. After all, since last week Mitsotakis has returned from Chania and he will probably be back in his hometown for Epiphany.

Authoritative sources conveyed to in.gr that the PM’s office gave the signal during the holidays for continuous coordination between the government and the party in two operations, which will run in parallel until the announcement of the elections and the formal dissolution of the Parliament: on the one hand, the continuation of the government’s work and in the promotion of deeds, on the one hand in the organization of the pre-election campaign.

The persons involved

In this context, Mitsotakis’ confidants are on the move after the New Year, among them his deputy minister-secretary Yiannis Bratakos, the ministers of state Akis Skertsos and Giorgos Gerapetritis, the government’s coordination secretary Thanasis Kontogeorgis, the entire communication and advisory team at Maximos Mnsion (Dimitris Tsiodras, Kyra Kapi, Eric Parks, etc.). And the staff of  the party headquarters, on Piraeus street, such as the secretary of the faction Pavlos Marinakis and the head of the Secretariat of the Program Haris Theoharis.

It may be that the core of the blue policy is always “built” centrally, however, in view of the national elections, all the working groups are now on an open line, in order to integrate proposals – programs – goals into a single portfolio.

The ballots

PM Mitsotakis may be keeping mum as for the exact dates of the ballot box (no matter how many predictions are raining down concerning April), however the first meetings of the year also have an electoral character. Not only because the preparation of the party is on the table, but especially because the time is counting down and for gradual (in installments) announcements of names for the New Democracy ballots.

The preparatory work by Bratakos, Marinakis and Thanasis Nezis, has been feverish for weeks and already, as the information says, the necessary soundings have been completed on the vast majority of the candidates. It remains for the prime minister to evaluate the options and begin to officially give the green light for announcements.

These  initially concern candidates of the younger generation – those in their 30s and 40s – in order to convey an image of party renewal. Market personalities (from chambers, for example) and  Local Government officials are also expected on the lists, in addition to acting deputy governors.

New tours and legislative cycle

In addition, the meetings also “reveal” the next destinations of party cadre tours, which are expected to start again after the Epiphany. The prime minister’s program includes, for example, Thrace. In any case, what Mitsotakis wants is to implement the “Patras model” (there he made a mini TIF-style platform for the first time) at the headquarters of each region, proposing a separate development plan for each region before the elections.

The first bills of 2023 are also starting to enter the calendar. “We have rich legislative work, let’s continue” is Mitsotakis’ instruction to the ministers, who already have specific tightly timed actions  – especially for the first quarter – in their drawers.