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ND VP: SYRIZA-ANEL break up was a 'staged divorce'

Featured ND VP: SYRIZA-ANEL break up was a 'staged divorce'

The break-up between the ruling coalition partners SYRIZA and ANEL was a "staged divorce," main opposition New Democracy Vice President Kostis Hatzidakis repeated in statements to radio station 'Praktoreio 104.9 FM' on Monday, echoing the position adopted by his party on Sunday.

"What we are seeing is utterly bizarre, it has no precedent in modern political history, either in Greece or in Europe," Hatzidakis said concerning ANEL's departure from the coalition. This was shown by the statements of ANEL leader Panos Kammenos, who said he would only raise an issue of party discipline for those members of his party's that did not resign as ministers, Hatzidakis said.

"But for those that are not ministers and vote in support of [Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras there is no issue of party discipline and he can continue to live alongside them, as some sort of singular ruling opposition," he added.
While Kammenos was posing as an ultra-patriot who had resigned over the Prespes Agreement, his stance allowed Tsipras to both pass the agreement and allowed both parties to cling on to power for a few more months, Hatzidakis claimed.

"They are completely cynical but their cynicism is now bordering on the comical..." he added.

Even if the government managed to cobble together the 151 MPs required to win a vote of confidence in parliament, Hatzidakis said, "it has lost the confidence of the Greek people and the confidence of the markets and investors, so a political change is needed quickly to make a new start."
By clinging on to power, the government was worsening the problems in the economy, so that the sooner elections were held, the better it would be for the country, he added.

"I think the elections will be held in May," he predicted, noting that "the government narrative in the summer will be non-existent in the sense that it will have sustained two electoral defeats in the European and municipal elections."

Asked to comment about the statements made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to Greece, Hatzidakis said the chancellor's position was not suprising, given that the Prespes Agreement was a policy choice favoured by Germany and other powers. The issue was not discussed at length during Merkel's meeting with ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, he added, while her meeting with the main opposition leader signalled that he was seen as the upcoming leader of Greece.