State Minister and government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos on Monday referred to the extreme violence used by far-right forces during Sunday’s rally against the Prespes Agreement while speaking and sternly attacked main opposition New Democracy and its leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis for not condemning the incidents.
On the attack against ND deputy Sofia Voultepsi, Tzanakopoulos noted: “The flirtation with fascism and nationalism leads to such situations. When ND triggers the most extreme reflexes in a part of Greek society while covering for and embracing extreme-right practices and perceptions, and has adopted a far-right rhetoric, it ends up falling a victim of the political practices it has nourished in the last year. The attack against Voultepsi is, of course, to be condemned without hesitation. We must point out, however, that the adoption by ND of such speech and practices would inevitably lead to such situations.”
At the same time, Tzanakopoulos appeared optimistic that support for the Prespes Agreement will increase in both society and Parliament through the parliamentary debate, as the various points that give rise to tension are explained in detail.
He also attacked Movement for Change (KINAL) and its leader Fofi Gennimata for her decision to expel DIMAR leader Thanassis Theocharopoulos from KINAL’s parliamentary group after his decision to vote in favour of the Prespes Agreement.
Regarding the rally on Sunday, Tzanakopoulos noted that the citizens have the right to take to the streets in protest, adding that the government was aware that a part of the Greek society opposed the Agreement. He added, however, that the goverment will act in accordance with what it considers to be its patriotic duty and in the best interests of Greece. He estimated that, as time goes by, the government’s plan on the FYROM name issue “will gains even greater support, not only in Greek society by also in the Greek parliament”.
On Potami MP Giorgos Amyras decision to quit his party, Tzanakopoulos expressed the opinion that this would have happened anyway, sooner or later, since Amyras had recently been in talks with New Democracy.
Regarding the decision of the Democratic Left (DIMAR) to support the Prespes Agreement, the government spokesman said that the party had reached a politically correct decision. It was up to the Movement for Change (KINAL) party to explain why this had prompted the expulsion of DIMAR’s leader Thanassis Theocharopoulos’ from KINAL’s parliamentary group, he added. On his part, Theocharopoulos claimed that KINAL offered him the top spot on its state deputies’ ballot in exchange for a vote against the Prespes Agreement.
Asked if the government will hold talks with Theocharopoulos, Tzanakopoulos said that SYRIZA wants to be in contact with all the progressive forces and in this framework, there is room for dialogue with DIMAR. Based on his calculations and the facts so far, Tzanakopoulos added, the Prespes Agreement would be ratified by over 151 votes in parliament.
“There is no plan for a government reshuffle after the vote on the Prespes Agreement but this is the exclusive province of the prime minister and none of us is in position to know what he will do,” he said.
Asked to comment on the recent statements of Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos, Tzanakopoulos said that there had been four years of honest cooperation between SYRIZA and ANEL with significant results, leading to the country’s exit from the memoranda, while underlining that the ANEL members who did not leave the government with Kammenos were had positively assessed the prime minister’s arguments for completing the government’s four-year term.
On the increase of the mininum wage, the government spokesman said that the experts’ report is ready and there will be a relevant ministerial decree in the coming days.