Tension mounts between foreign minister, ANEL

Tension mounts between foreign minister, ANEL

Cracks with the ruling coalition appeared again on Thursday, with junior partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) taking issue with Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias over his remarks that the Macedonia name deal should be ratified by the present Parliament. 

Kotzias made his comments during a press conference with visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, making it clear that the government intends to ratify the deal before its four-year term in office ends – even if that means doing it without ANEL. Maximos Mansion believes the government would survive if ANEL and independent MPs submit a censure motion against it. 

“The majority [in Parliament] are for the ratification of the agreement,” Kotzias said, adding that SYRIZA, To Potami and many independent lawmakers have expressed backing for the deal.

He said he expects FYROM to wrap up the agreement by January, paving the way for Greek parliamentary procedures to commence.

His remarks received a scathing response from ANEL spokesman Theodoros Tosounidis, who accused him of “trying, yet again, to create problems with the coalition” and derided him as a newcomer who “has never been elected.”

SYRIZA has 145 MPs and in the event of a censure motion it is confident it will have enough support from independent MPs to stay in power at least until May.

Meanwhile, Maas, who was in Skopje earlier this week to express German support for the name deal ahead of the September 30 referendum said he is hopeful that this “historic agreement will be implemented, as it contributes to the reconciliation of the two peoples.”

He also expressed hope the agreement enjoys broader support in Greece, where it has met with opposition from New Democracy and other opposition parties.

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