NEWS

Name deal exposes cracks in coalition partner, center-left

TAGS: Politics

The name deal between Athens and Skopje has exposed cracks in Greece’s junior coalition partner, the nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL), as well as the new center-left Movement for Change (KINAL).

ANEL’s decision to vote against a no-confidence motion submitted by the conservative New Democracy opposition over the accord, triggered a wave of resignations in the party of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos who has vehemently opposed the agreement.

The party’s parliamentary seats dwindled to eight on Saturday after MP Dimitris Kammenos (who is not related to the party leader) voted in favor of the motion. Now an independent MP, Kammenos told Skai that the SYRIZA-led government had agreed to the deal “because it received returns on economic issues.”

There has been speculation that the deal might increase Greek chances for debt relief. Ruling officials have denied a connection between the two issues.

On Sunday, former ANEL spokeswoman and a close aide of Kammenos, Madalena Papadopoulou, left the party in protest at the “despicable” accord.

At least five more officials resigned by late Monday, while 12 officials in northern Greece issued a joint statement saying that the deal amounted to “a violation of the party’s red lines.”

The agreement, meanwhile, has also divided PASOK and To Potami, which recently came together in the KINAL alliance, with officials on both sides being said to be in favor of killing the project.

Speaking to Iefimerida website, Potami chief Stavros Theodorakis, who welcomed the name deal, said, “we are trying to see if our effort to inject fresh ideas into traditional forces is working.”

No decisions concerning the movement’s future are expected until Potami’s national congress on July 1.

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