Leftist leader reaches out to the right

Overture to head of new nationalist party, on anti-austerity platform, causes stir

Comments by Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), according to which his party would be prepared to join forces with the newly-formed nationalist Independent Greeks led by Panos Kammenos caused a stir on Friday.

Following up on his earlier statement, that a leftwing government would accept ?votes for Kammenos as tolerance or support,? Tsipras elaborated, saying that SYRIZA would not turn down any support as long as it is support for a left-wing government.

Kammenos responded quickly, appearing to reject the overture out of hand. ?We are not leftovers, and we are not anyone?s crutch,? he said.

Nevertheless, the indirect appeal by Tsipras to Kammenos to cooperate on a common level of rejecting Greece?s debt deal and its accompanying austerity measures prompted reactions from across the political spectrum.

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras remarked of the Independent Greeks that ?they have shacked up Tsipras.? A spokesman for the rightwing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) struck a similar tone, saying ?Tsipras and Kammenos are courting again.? Meanwhile Communist Party (KKE) official, Makis Mailis, indicated that none of the existing parties are capable of forming a government that would defend the people?s interests.

KKE leader Aleka Papariga, who has rebuffed calls by Tsipras and other leftist leaders for cooperation, repeated her positions at a party press conference at the Zappeio Hall on Friday.