NEWS

Tsipras overture causes furor

Comments by Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), that he would welcome the support from the nationalist Independent Greeks party in the formation of an anti-bailout government following the May 6 elections prompted strong reactions across the political spectrum.

Clarifying remarks made Thursday, when he said that a left-wing administration would accept votes from Panos Kammenos?s splinter party ?as tolerance or support,? Tsipras Friday asserted that SYRIZA would not turn down any support as long as it was for a left-wing government.

Although Tsipras did not backpedal on his earlier position, his clarification nevertheless appeared to ease tensions inside his party, an often uneasy alliance of leftist groupings. SYRIZA MP Dimitris Papadimoulis earlier said that ?the past and views of Kammenos place him on the right of New Democracy… making post-election cooperation impossible.?

Kammenos, a ND rebel who appears to have inflicted serious political damage to his former party, immediately turned down the overture. ?We are not leftovers, and we are not anyone?s crutch,? he said on Thursday.

Nevertheless, rival parties saw a chance to score points against SYRIZA and Independent Greeks, who have each come in at over 10 percent in recent polls.

?I wish Tsipras and Tsipras-in-disguise all the best. It?s a harmonious political wedding. But they are divorced from reality,? ND leader Antonis Samaras said. PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos slammed the notion as a bid to ?build a strong amalgam against the memorandum.?

The Communist Party (KKE) and extreme left Antarsya party were united in their condemnation of the overture, while LAOS scoffed at the prospect of cooperation, describing it as an experiment with ?communist liberalism.?

Meanwhile, police Friday arrested journalist and publisher Emilios Liatsos after Kammenos?s wife, Elena Tzouli, sued him and his Paraskevi kai Dekatreis daily of breaching a court ruling that forbade the paper to refer to her by name. Liatsos was released later Friday pending an investigation.