Greece’s political parties are on a collision course over the name deal struck with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) after New Democracy filed a no-confidence motion challenging Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s right to strike the agreement, given the objections of the coalition’s junior coalition partner, Independent Greeks (ANEL).
The debate on the issue will be concluded Saturday with speeches by party leaders and the vote on the motion, which all opposition parties are expected to back.
“I have an obligation before the Greek people to try to avert the mortgaging of our country’s future with an agreement that is detrimental to our national interests," New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told an acrimonious Parliament session.
“We are all up against history,” he said, adding that the motion seeks to prevent an unprecedented institutional derailment of the country, as it is unclear whether the SYRIZA-led government has the necessary parliamentary majority to ratify the deal. He also warned that the deal will be a fait accompli that may be irreversible.
For his part, Tsipras, who “welcomed” the motion, hinted that the confrontation over the deal will be a major one. “We will speak about everything and every one. You won’t get away from it,” Tsipras said.
With ANEL leader Panos Kammenos saying he will oppose the deal when it comes to Parliament, it is clear that Tsipras will have to rely on support from other political parties for its approval.
The bad blood was not limited to ruling SYRIZA and ND, as Movement For Change (KINAL) was also hit by internal strife with the leaders of its constituent parties – Fofi Gennimata of Democratic Alignment and To Potami’s Stavros Theodorakis – at odds over the name deal – expected to be signed on Sunday in Prespes, northern Greece.
Theodorakis has stated he will back the deal when it comes to Parliament while Gennimata said she won’t, placing a great strain on KINAL’s cohesion.
There was also grief in Skopje with FYROM President Gjorge Ivanov saying he will not sign the deal. Problems were also caused between FYROM and Bulgaria after Ivanov claimed the deal would stand in the way of a “united Macedonia.”
Viewing the remark as irredentist, directed against Bulgaria, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov canceled a scheduled meeting with Ivanov.