Greece’s coalition government appears to be walking a tightrope again following the latest round of acrimony between its two partners, leftist SYRIZA and right-wing nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL).
Tension was fueled on Friday after ANEL leader Panos Kammenos defended his proposal earlier this week for an alternative to the name deal signed between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the creation of American bases on the Greek mainland.
Kammenos said that, as a “a governing partner, I submit a proposal that only binds me.” Referring to US bases on the mainland, he said they are “already operating.”
The ANEL chief also took aim at the SYRIZA-affiliated newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton (Efsyn), which, he said, falsely reported that he had a phone conversation with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Efsyn, he said, continues to publish false stories.
“I have not talked to the prime minister because nothing has changed with regard to what has been agreed,” he said.
Kammenos also posted a news story that claimed that France and the US have been added to the alliance Greece and Cyprus has with Egypt and Israel.
He added sarcastically that the permission of Parliament Speaker (and SYRIZA member) Nikos Voutsis must be secured for the addition of France and US to the alliance “as axes annoy him.”
His comments drew a response from Shipping Minister Fotis Kouvelis, who noted that his stance is “not helpful” for the government and that “this situation must not continue.” Meanwhile, Nikos Xydakis, a parliamentary spokesperson for SYRIZA, said Kammenos’s remarks do not “serve the country’s credibility or its long-term interests.”