The Greek coalition is behaving like “a backwater theater troupe,” the leader of the main opposition New Democracy said on Thursday, commenting on a growing public rift between the two parties in the leftist-led government.
“At a time when the main thing the country needs is to restore its credibility in every area, the government is coming across like a backwater theater troupe,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a live statement posted on Twitter.
“The image of a weak prime minister who cannot or will not control his defense minister is simply pathetic,” Mitsotakis said, commenting on a controversial appearance by Panos Kammenos, Greece's minister of defense and head of the junior nationalist Independent Greeks party, in the United States earlier this week.
Kammenos has come under attack, including from within the government, for proposing a potential alternative plan to the Prespes name deal between Athens and Skopje, which his party has opposed from the onset.
During a meeting at the US State Department on Tuesday with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell, Kammenos floated the idea of a defense agreement between Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and other countries in the Balkans aimed at consolidating stability and curbing Russian influence in the region.
It became clear on Wednesday that Kammenos did not have the support of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for this plan, while the defense chief was also chided for straying from the government line by Parliament speaker Nikos Voutsis, who said that he “cannot understand exactly what he is proposing.”
Even Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Minister of State Nikos Pappas seemed to take a dig at Kammenos on Thursday, saying at a press conference that ministers should “speak as little as possible.”
“In the meantime, our nation is losing strength, solemnity and credibility,” Mitsotakis said. It is being dragged through the mud globally.”