LAOS chief sug­gests party may quit House

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Gior­gos Karatzaferis, the leader of the Pop­u­lar Ortho­dox Rally (LAOS), cre­ated a stir on the Greek po­lit­i­cal scene yes­ter­day by claim­ing that he is con­sid­er­ing with­draw­ing his right-wing party from Par­lia­ment.

“I am se­ri­ously think­ing about pulling LAOS out of Par­lia­ment in the hope that it will serve as a slap to a sys­tem that is in a co­matose state,” he told An­tenna TV.

The na­tion­al­ists have 15 seats in the 300seat Par­lia­ment and were his MPs to re­sign, it would lead to fresh elec­tions hav­ing to be held in 12 of the coun­try’s 57 con­stituen­cies. Karatzaferis said that he has asked for a meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Karo­los Papou­lias as soon as he re­turns from a trip to Ger­many.

He also met with Par­lia­ment Speaker Filip­pos Pet­sal­nikos and De­fense Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venize­los yes­ter­day. The talks with Venize­los were of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors as the min­is­ter had run against Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou for the lead­er­ship of PASOK and is seen by some within the So­cial­ist party as a po­ten­tial suc­ces­sor to the cur­rent premier.

“The only concern of all po­lit­i­cal pow­ers is for par­lia­men­tary in­sti­tu­tions to be pro­tected,” Venize­los said af­ter the meet­ing, sug­gest­ing that Karatzaferis had sim­ply put an “idea” for­ward and that ev­ery­one should wait for his meet­ing with Papou­lias.

Karatzaferis ap­pears to have sensed an op­por­tu­nity for his party, which got 5.6 per­cent of the vote in the 2009 gen­eral elec­tion, to punch above its weight. He was will­ing to co­op­er­ate both with PASOK and New Democ­racy to agree on a pack­age of aus­ter­ity mea­sures and eco­nomic re­forms. But his over­tures have been re­jected by ND and the LAOS leader seems to have de­cided that the lack of con­sen­sus means the cur­rent Par­lia­ment can­not re­spond to the debt cri­sis fac­ing Greece.

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