New Democracy lawmaker Konstantinos Bogdanos was expelled from the party’s parliamentary group on Tuesday after claiming during a debate in Parliament that communists are a bigger threat to Greece than Turkey.
The decision was taken by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is in Slovenia to attend the informal European Council meeting and Wednesday’s EU-Western Balkans Summit.
A press release from the prime minister’s office said Mitsotakis was informed about Bogdanos’ comments and decided to expel him.
Earlier, in a parliamentary debate about the Greek-French defense agreement, Bogdanos cited remarks by a right-wing World War II and civil war figure: “Grivas said we have three enemies: the British, the Turks and the communists. The greatest danger were the communists.”
In a strong reaction, a Communist Party (KKE) MP accused Bogdanos of adopting Golden Dawn rhetoric, which Bogdanos countered by saying that anti-communism is a form of liberalism.
A SYRIZA MP then referred to Bogdanos’ participation in a right-wing civil war commemoration in Vitsi, northern Greece, where he laid a wreath, as did representatives of the outlawed neo-Nazi Golden Dawn group and a representative of jailed former Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris. While Bogdanos admitted he attended the event, he said that a party colleague, Zisis Tsikalagias MP, was also there as was the secretary of the prime minister’s office in Thessaloniki, Maria Antoniou.
Afterwards, the foreign minister, Nikos Dendias, condemned Bogdanos’ contribution. “We are not here to return to the bad past of our country but to discuss the survival of the country in the future,” he said.
“Any attempt today to project into the modern political life of the country the painful moments of the past for party-political gain is unacceptable. The association with Kasidiaris is unacceptable and the laying of a wreath with Golden Dawn is also unacceptable,” the foreign minister continued.