Gov’t says Panousis’s views on sitins are his own

The office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday issued a statement noting that the views on sitins expressed in an article by Alternate Citizens’ Protection Minister Yiannis Panousis are his own and do not represent those of the government.

The views set out in Panousis’s article in Ta Nea, entitled “Can there be a Left representing nothing?” do not reflect the policy of the government, of government cadres or of the political forces that support the government,” the statement said, adding that authorities remain committed to protecting “the rule of law, rights and public order.”

Panousis’ criticism of the government’s tolerance of sitins at university faculties and government offices and his warning that failing to impose any rules could lead to the “decay of the values of the Left,” also prompted the intervention of government and SYRIZA officials and of the opposition. Alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani said Panousis’ criticism came from bitterness amid plans for the latter’s ministry to be shifted under the auspices of the Justice Ministry. Syriza’ parliamentary spokesman Nikos Filis said it was a “faux pas” for a minister to target the government via an article in the media.

The spokesman for conservative opposition New Democracy, Costas Karagoounis, remarked that Panousis was “daring to say what we’ve been saying for years.”

In a comment on her Facebook page, prominent PASOK cadre Fofi Gennimata said that Panousis should resign if he cannot rise above the strife within SYRIZA and cannot fulfill his duties in protecting citizens.

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