Tsipras calls on MPs to renew confidence in gov’t, defends Prespes deal
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday called on lawmakers to renew their support in the government during the first day of a tense debate in Parliament over a confidence motion called by him last weekend.
“I ask with honesty and clarity the reaffirmation of the national delegation’s confidence in the government,” he said, adding that the final months in power will be used by the government to pass crucial legislation and complete the constitutional revision.
Defending the name deal signed between Athens and Skopje to end a decades-old dispute over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tsipras said he and former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias took advantage of a “historic opportunity” to resolve the problem.
“My conscience and my patriotic duty required me to use this historic opportunity to solve the Macedonian issue, knowing that there would be a political cost,” he said.
He reiterated that the divorce with the former junior coalition partner Panos Kammenos came after the two sides disagreed on the Prespes name deal.
“Our political and ideological differences were bound to produce their results at some point. It was not unavoidable, but that’s what happened,” he said.
“I think he is making a mistake, he is not acting correctly. I told him as much. I do not think this option was inevitable because it jeopardizes the government’s ability to achieve what it has tried to do at a crucial moment. But I will respect his decision."
Tsipras also accused New Democracy of targeting MPs who have said they will support the Prespes accord, following allegations by former ANEL or independent MPs who claimed they had received threatening messages or phone calls.
“You have publicly targeted lawmakers. [ND] party officials give their phone numbers and addresses to your followers. They receive hundreds of threatening messages daily,” he said.
Police arrested late Monday night a 62-year-old man who allegedly confessed to sending threatening messages to lawmakers after a post he saw on social media by a New Democracy official who urged citizens to put pressure on those MPs.
He is facing charges of attempted violence against a political body, the government or its members and incitement to commit a crime.