ANEL MP to give up seat after NATO protocol vote on Friday, sources say


Thanassis Papachristopoulos, a deputy of the nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL), will reportedly relinquish his seat in Parliament on Friday, after lawmakers vote on the crucial NATO accession protocol of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which will complete Greece’s ratification process, Kathimerini has learned.

However, speaking during a meeting of ANEL’s parliamentary group earlier on Thursday, party leader Panos Kammenos warned Papachristopoulos that if he does not give up his seat before the debate starts in the Parliament plenary on Friday, he will be expelled from the party.

“[I will expel him], no matter what this means for the parliamentary group,” he told journalists, adding he will do it so that the MP “does not vote for the surrender of Macedonia.”

Papachristopoulos had already announced last week that he would hand over his seat on February 1, but Parliament president Nikos Voutsis asked him to wait until the end of the voting session.

The clash over the MP’s seat is linked to the survival of ANEL’s parliamentary group.

When Papachristopoulos relinquishes it, the seat will go to Terens Quick, currently deputy foreign minister. If Quick refuses the seat, he will effectively deprive the government of its newly acquired majority of 151, which will drop to 150.

If he takes it he will threaten ANEL’s cohesion, as its parliamentary group will drop below the minimum of five MPs.