SYRIZA opposes the acquisition of six additional Rafale fighter jets, with the party’s main opposer for the controversial contract, Giorgos Tsipras, claiming that their acquisition is “out of the blue.”
“Why did we suddenly have to go for another six Rafales?” said the deputy head of the National Defence Department of the official opposition during the discussion of the bill in the relevant committee of the Parliament.
“None of the New Democracy Members of Parliament can explain to us why the decision was made and announced by the Prime Minister himself.
“These extra six Rafales are as they say in my village, ‘out of the blue.’
“This decision cannot be accepted.”
Tsipras, however, added that SYRIZA will vote in favour of the supply of Belh @ rra frigates and torpedoes for submarines.
It is recalled that for the first supply contract of 18 Rafales that had come to the Parliament last January, SYRIZA initially requested its cancellation to the relevant committee.
The opposition party declared the terms of payment and receipt unacceptable and that in order for them to vote in favour this would have to be changed and renegotiated.
New Democracy, Movement for Change (KINAL) and Hellenic Solution have announced that they will be in favour of all three contracts for the reinforcement of the Armed Forces, effectively ensuring that it will be approved in parliament.
Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said Greece needs to modernise following funding cuts during Greece’s financial crisis.
“There is no armament program that is ‘slightly necessary’ or ‘somewhat necessary’,” Panagiotopoulos told parliamentarians on Monday during a committee-level debate.
“All of the armament programs that we have submitted for approval, in one way or another, are absolutely necessary for the armed forces ‒ extremely necessary, urgently necessary,” the defence minister added.
The Mediterranean country’s centre-right New Democracy government has 157 MP’s in the 300-seat Parliament.
KINAL and Hellenic Solution have 22 and 10 seats respectively.
SYRIZA have 85 seats and the Communist Part of Greece has 15.