ANEL welcomes state-church deal


Junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) on Wednesday welcomed a tentative deal struck between the left-led government and the country’s powerful Orthodox Church, saying that ANEL chief Panos Kammenos had managed to prevent a planned split between the two institutions.

“We move on together. We move on united and strong. The state and the church. Greece and Orthodoxy,” said Theodoros Tsounidis, a spokesman for the right-wing party.

“Kammenos had pledged it and he secured it,” he said, adding that “the axes of division have been buried deep in the ground.”

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos agreed Tuesday to remove some 10,000 priests and auxiliary staff from the state payroll, in a deal that was portrayed by leftist officials as paving the way for a clearer distinction between church and state.