Ide­o­log­i­cal cracks widen

Gov­ern­ment’s ‘pro­gres­sive’ agenda riles right-wing ju­nior coali­tion part­ner

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Cracks of an ide­o­log­i­cal na­ture are be­gin­ning to ap­pear in the coali­tion af­ter the leader of ju­nior part­ner In­de­pen­dent Greeks (ANEL) de­nounced com­ments by Par­lia­ment Speaker and SYRIZA MP Nikos Vout­sis with re­gard to the coun­try’s Or­tho­dox iden­tity.

Vout­sis had said in an in­ter­view yes­ter­day on state-run ERT TV that “post-bailout Greece can­not be deeply con­ser­va­tive, ad­her­ing to the motto of coun­try, re­li­gion, fam­ily.”

Re­peat­edly re­sort­ing to a deeply con­ser­va­tive agenda from the past can­not be the “flag of post-bailout Greece,” he said.

In re­sponse to the re­porter’s sug­ges­tion that the Greek peo­ple are Or­tho­dox Chris­tians, Vout­sis said that “in Greece, Or­tho­doxy con­cerns 90 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.”

“We are a mod­ern state. We are not a fun­da­men­tal­ist Or­tho­dox state, nor the Tal­iban of the Or­tho­dox,” he said.

His com­ments were dis­missed by ANEL chief Panos Kam­menos with a post on so­cial me­dia. “We are ab­so­lutely op­posed to the re­marks by the par­lia­men­tary speaker, as is the vast ma­jor­ity of Or­tho­dox Greeks,” the right-wing party leader wrote. His post was widely seen as har­bin­ger of fur­ther ac­ri­mony within the coali­tion down the road as se­nior part­ner SYRIZA seeks to de­fine and im­pose Greece’s post-bailout iden­tity along more pro- gres­sive lines, to ANEL’s dis­may.

His re­marks came on the heels of the re­cent very public dis­agree­ment voiced by Deputy Par­lia­ment Speaker and ANEL MP Dim­itris Kam­menos (no re­la­tion of the party leader) to the gov­ern­ment’s con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion that stu­dents bear­ing the Greek flag at pri­mary school pa­rades will be se­lected by lot.

Up un­til now flag-bear­ers were the stu­dents with the best grades.

More­over, Dim­itris Kam­menos also voted down an ar­ti­cle, in­cluded in the re­cent ed­u­ca­tion bill, call­ing for the re­vival of the so­called univer­sity asy­lum that bans po­lice of­fi­cers from en­ter­ing univer­sity grounds.

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