Greek government on the verge of collapse over FYROM name deal  


Greek government

by Aggelos Skordas

Greece’s coalition government's fragile majority is for the first time, in almost three years of ruling, in immediate danger of collapse after junior coalition partner ANEL leader and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos reiterated his party is not willing to back the agreement reached with neighbouring FYROM over its name. Moreover, Kammenos, in a press conference held on Tuesday, demanded the accord be ratified either by the Greek people (with a referendum), by the enhanced majority of the three-fifths of the Parliament (180 votes)  or not at all.

With only 152 seats left in the 300-seat Parliament Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is now examining the scenarios that could give his government a life extension and solve the deadlock his partner has created after the so-called Prespa Agreement he signed with FYROM counterpart Nikola Dimitrov.

“The agreement will not be ratified without the approval of the people. The people will decide unless there are [the votes of] 180 MPs”, Kammenos clarified. He also suggested the solution of early elections: “The deal for me is bad, I do not accept it, and I will try to block it […] The draft agreement has no weight and commitment until it is signed in Parliament. All other conditions of the agreement are conditions that Skopje must fulfill”, he went on, adding that the former Yugoslav republic will not be granted an invitation to join the NATO during the upcoming summit of July 11 and 12, as the agreement will not have the Greek Parliament’s approval by then.

In response to Kammenos’ remarks the Premier’s office issued a statement underlying that the government desires “the agreement for the resolution of a problem that has burdened foreign policy for years to get the broadest possible majority in Parliament”. In addition, though, it avoided to give a straight answer to Kammenos’ demands for elections or referendum in case the enhanced majority is not reached in Parliament.

On his behalf, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias insisted that the accord is beneficial for the country and it does not require an enhanced majority as it does not compromise national sovereignty. “We resolved the issue because we think it is beneficial to Greece to resolve issues that keep us shackled to history, and to be able to join other peoples in looking to the future”, he said in an interview with “Sto Kokkino” FM.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.