PM, Kammenos in pivotal meeting
With the future of the coalition hanging in the balance over the Prespes name deal, Friday's meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his partner Panos Kammenos is expected to be pivotal.
Sources from junior coalition party, Independent Greek (ANEL), said Thursday that regardless of the outcome of the meeting, Kammenos will not resign on Friday but early next week.
However that was before Kammenos declared, during a parliamentary committee session on Friday, that "I am not an outgoing minister."
Party sources also told Kathimerini on Thursday that Kammenos may set some conditions to Tsipras in order to ensure that their imminent divorce will be amicable. Specifically, he may ask that all ANEL ministers are removed from the government and that no party officials run on SYRIZA’s election ballot.
As a goodwill gesture in exchange, Kammenos is reportedly considering to allow ANEL lawmakers to vote – in the event of a confidence motion – according to their conscience, as opposed to the ballot on the agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where he expects them to follow the party line.
Kammenos, who is also defense minister, suggested Thursday that he was already on the way out during a meeting with the leadership of the armed forces. Asked if he will leave the ministry and the government, Kammenos reportedly said “I will do what is right.” According to reports, he bid farewell to the military leaders at the end of the meeting.
However, he appeared to retract that claim on Friday, claiming that "I am not an outgoing minister" when opposition New Democracy MPs refused to discuss defense issues issues with him, citing his comments on Thursday to armed forces chiefs.
"I am not an outgoing minister nor am I about to resign," Kammenos retorted as ND MPs were leaving the session. " I have neither submitted my resignation, nor can ND prejudge the outcome in Skopje," Kammenos said, referring to a vote on the Prespes deal which is expected to happen in the capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in due course.
On Thursday, lawmakers in Skopje adjourned the debate to ratify the name deal, which needs a two-thirds majority in the Balkan nation’s parliament.
Parliament was to resume discussion on Friday.