Dendias riles SYRIZA over violence

Leftists call for minister to go after comment on party moving toward legality

SYRIZA on Tuesday called for Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias (photo) to resign over comments that linked the leftist party with political violence, but the opposition stopped short of making an official request in Parliament for his removal.

SYRIZA lawmaker Panayiotis Lafazanis demanded that Dendias either retract his remarks or resign. The minister stoked controversy when he suggested in a political talk show late on Monday that SYRIZA was not being forceful enough in its condemnation of violent attacks.

“I hope that SYRIZA is going through a transition period and that it will continue to turn toward legality,” Dendias said during the program aired on Mega TV.

His comment prompted an immediate reaction from SYRIZA representative Nikos Voutsis, who demanded a retraction and said the leftists would be demanding Dendias’s resignation. Voutsis later left the televised debate.

Sources said SYRIZA has decided its members will walk out of all political discussions in the media if they feel that unfair links between the party and terrorist or other attacks are being made.

During a briefing of Parliament’s public order committee, Dendias stood by his comments, as well as those he made to Sunday’s Kathimerini criticizing some judicial officials for failing to deal promptly with terrorism suspects.

Dendias challenged SYRIZA to propose a censure motion but the leftists decided instead to withdraw its deputies from the parliamentary committee as a sign of protest.

“The public order minister is under attack from both political extremes, so it is certain that he is doing his job properly,” said government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou.