Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has criticized the country’s leftist opposition for refusing to back a defense agreement with France.
After clearing the parliamentary committee stage, the deal was expected to be ratified on Thursday by the full Parliament after a debate between party leaders.
The ratification is assured, with the parties backing it – ruling conservative New Democracy, center-left coalition Movement for Change (KINAL) and nationalist Greek Solution – having 179 MPs out of a total 300.
Independent MP Konstantinos Bogdanos, who was expelled from New Democracy’s parliamentary group by Mitsotakis on Tuesday after he had made some stridently anti-communist statements on top of other recent lapses, stated on Wednesday in a TV interview that he could be counted on to continue voting with the government, even though he defended his statements. Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis noted that Bogdanos remained a party member and left the door open for an eventual return to the parliamentary group, depending on “fluid” political developments.
It is obvious the ruling party does not want the hard-right deputy to bolt to another party to the right of New Democracy or even start his own, especially since the simple proportional representation system under which the next election will be held favors small parties.
All left-wing parties – main opposition SYRIZA, the Greek Communist Party and MeRA25 – oppose the Franco-Greek agreement, but for different reasons.
“Sadly, the partisan blinders prevent some from seeing where the country’s real interests lie,” Mitsotakis said during a dinner with his EU counterparts in Slovenia on Tuesday.
Mitsotakis defended the agreement saying that it will reinforce Greece’s geopolitical status while strengthening European efforts to build an autonomous defense pillar within the NATO alliance.