Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Panos Kammenos, the leader of the junior member of the ruling coalition Independent Greeks (ANEL), needs to reveal on Friday whether he supports the government.
If Kammenos does not, the Prime Minister will ask for a vote of confidence before he tables the Prespes Agreement in the Greek parliament.
Kammenos, currently National Defence Minister, has repeatedly said he will not support the Prespes Agreement between Greece and FYROM. The Agreement is currently being debated in the Skopje parliament, which is expected to vote on it within January before it comes to Greece for ratification.
If ANEL withdraws from the ruling coalition, Tsipras asserted, there would be no constitutional problem with such a government, but a political one which would need to be resolved through elections.
Asserting that he would get a vote of confidence, Tsipras also said that he would nominate Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos for another term, as he has “defended the interests of the country in an excellent way.”
“Resolving the name issue with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) through the Prespes Agreement is one of the most important legacies of my tenure so far,” Tsipras said.
The issue, he added, had been unresolved for the past 27 years due to the inertia of previous governments, and had become a burden in Greece’s role in the region.
The Prespes Agreement “leaves no room for future nationalist leaders” in the neighbouring country, the Greek premier said, adding that “Greece gains nothing by keeping an open front with the neighbouring country, and by wasting diplomatic capital.”
He continued by saying that all parties and members of parliament have full knowledge of the Prespes Agreement they are called to vote on and therefore need to “assume their historical responsibility.”
Tsipras further stated that should the FYROM parliament ratify the Agreement and Greece not do so, on account of political leaders’ personal interests ahead of national elections, then the country’s international image will be significantly tarnished.
Asked about the date on which the Agreement will come to Greek parliament for ratification, the PM replied that he will start the process immediately after the FYROM parliament has voted and estimated that the Greek parliament will have most certainly voted by the end of January.