SYRIZA courts PASOK
Calls are growing among leftists for ruling party to drop ANEL partnership
The cracks that have appeared in the coalition government comprising SYRIZA and Independent Greeks (ANEL) have prompted calls for the leftist party to reassess its political partnerships ahead of the country’s post-bailout era.
These calls got louder last week after the spat between SYRIZA MP and Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis with ANEL leader and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos over the country’s Orthodox Christian identity.
Despite Kammenos’s insistence on Thursday that his party will nonetheless stay the course with SYRIZA, his enthusiasm was not shared by the leftist party’s senior-ranking officials, who appear to be growing wary of ANEL’s ultranationalist agenda.
This was made clear yesterday when SYRIZA party secretary Panayiotis Rigas said that a “line must be drawn” and that everyone must decide on which side of the line they will stand.
His comments echoed a growing sentiment that the cohabitation between the two parties has run its course, as the bailout policies they pledged to see through together start giving way to a social agenda that will undoubtedly become a source of friction between SYRIZA and the ultranationalists of ANEL.
To the end of forming new partnerships to push through a more progressive agenda, Merchant Marine Minister Panayiotis Kourou- blis yesterday called on socialist PASOK to join ranks with SYRIZA to form a common front against opposition conservative New Democracy.
“The [PASOK] party that was founded by Andreas Papandreou cannot become a crutch of the harsh neoliberal policies of [New Democracy leader] Kyriakos Mitsotakis,” Kouroublis said, adding that the only choice for PASOK is to “form a radical anti-neoliberal front in cooperation with SYRIZA.”
His call was promptly rejected by PASOK, but it showed that SYRIZA officials are not averse to making their doubts public over the coalition’s future.