Coali­tion put to test

Ju­nior part­ner reaf­firms part­ner­ship with SYRIZA but draws red lines

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The ap­par­ent in­ten­tion of rul­ing SYRIZA to de­nounce New Democ­racy as an ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive party could lead to to a rup­ture with ju­nior coali­tion part­ner In­de­pen­dent Greeks (ANEL), which shares the opin­ion of the op­po­si­tion con­ser­va­tives on a number of is­sues.

Af­ter reaf­firm­ing the coun­try’s Or­tho­dox Chris­tian pro­file on Wed­nes­day in re­sponse to com­ments by SYRIZA MP and Par­lia­ment Speaker Nikos Vout­sis, ANEL leader and De­fense Min­is­ter Panos Kam­menos upped the ante again yes­ter­day, telling Skai TV that Greece “has a con­sti­tu­tion that rec­og­nizes the coun­try’s of­fi­cial re­li­gion to be Or­tho­dox.”

Vout­sis had told a jour­nal­ist that “Or­tho­doxy con­cerns 90 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion” and that Greece is “not a fun­da­men­tal­ist Or­tho­dox state.”

Ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts, Kam­menos’s men­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion could be viewed as a warn­ing shot to SYRIZA – ahead of the de­bate to re­view the Greek Con­sti­tu­tion – that far-right ANEL will not be on the same page as the left­ist party on all is­sues.

De­spite the agree­ment be­tween the two par­ties to close ranks when it comes to im­ple­ment­ing the tough dic­tates stip­u­lated in the coun­try’s bailout com­mit­ments, their co­hab­i­ta­tion in gov­ern­ment will be in­creas­ingly tested as SYRIZA pro­ceeds to push for a more pro­gres­sive agenda on so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

This was loud and clear in Kam­menos’s in­ter­view with Skai.

In an ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to the lat­est snag con­cern­ing the huge in­vest­ment at the site of the for­mer air­port at Elliniko in south­ern Athens as a re­sult of ob­sta­cles raised by the forestry depart­ment, Kam­menos said, “It is un­be­liev­able that a forester could stop a huge in­vest­ment.”

Al­though he in­sisted that “we will stay the course with SYRIZA un­til the end,” Kam­menos stressed that his party had drawn “red lines” that can­not be crossed.

He did, how­ever, say that the coali­tion has worked so far be­cause he and Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras en­gage in “a very frank dia­logue.”

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