Athens, March 16, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
The diplomatic “false note” of Immigration Policy minister Giannis Mouzalas, who during his television interview with SKAI television called FYROM, Macedonia, has caused a maelstrom in the government.
A day before the crucial summit on the refugee crisis, the Greek prime minister faces another headache, after his government partner and president of ANEL Panos Kammenos demanded the resignation of G. Mouzalas for the “Macedonia”. Indeed, in a communication that the prime minister had with P. Kammenos, the President of ANEL insisted on the resignation and convened the parliamentary group of his party.
Developments are expected to be rapid within the day as P. Kammenos has convened a meeting of the Parliamentary Group of ANEL on the subject of G. Mouzalas, with all issued open, even that of the participation in the coalition government.
The party spokeswoman Madalena Papadopoulou in her statements at SKAI television said:
“Mr. Kammenos was clear. He asked the convergence of the parliamentary group. It is not a simple matter, for a minister to call FYROM ‘Macedonia’ is tantamount to de facto recognition”.
On the persistent questions of the two journalists whether there is an issue with the participation of ANEL in the government, Madalena Papadopoulou said that she can not provide an answer to the question herself, while when asked if it is among the options the party is examining, she clearly answered “Yes”. Indeed, she reminded that the ANEL ministers Sgouridis and Dimitris Kammenos had handed over their resignation in the past when issues had arisen, facilitating the situation. “We disagree with that expression of Mr. Mouzalas”, she concluded.
Indeed, information indicates that the president of ANEL does not intend to back down. It is indicative that Panos Kammenos says that Giannis Mouzalas was also wrong in his predictions on the refugee crisis, resulting in the country finding itself in this difficult position with tens of thousands of refugees trapped.
This morning the prime minister convenes the regular informal government meeting in the House, in the presence of top ministers and his close associates. A meeting, in which in any case was to touch many issues due to the double economic – refugee fromnt. After the latest developments, of course, the main subject will be the fate of Mr. Mouzalas.
In any case, however, and regardless of the final decision of Mr. Tsipras, the government itself has managed to create a very bad picture and what’s more at such a critical juncture for the country, while offering the opposition plenty of space and ground for criticism.
G. Mouzalas, beyond his apology in the radio station “Athens 9.84”, proceeded to a formal statement, saying the following:
“I apologize for my inadvertent error at the interview with the journalist Pavlos Tsimas, which does not correspond to my attitude and my beliefs about the national question of FYROM”.
War between SYRIZA – ANEL on Tuesday evening
The statements of Immigration Policy deputy minister, despite the public apology from G. Mouzalas, have reignited the confrontation between the two parties in the government, with inflammatory statements by both sides.
The Defence minister Panos Kammenos, following dimensions the matter took despite the public apology by G. Mouzalas, asked via Twitter for his resignation.
“Mr. Mouzalas’ apology is not enough, we ask for his resignation”, P. Kammenos wrote.
National issues has always been the red line for the party of Panos Kammenos, but at this particular moment, perhaps he is looking for the golden opportunity, first to “avenge” the expulsion of the two members of the government that belonged to his party, Dimitris Kammenou and Panagiotis Sgouridis, but also to distance the party from the difficulties of the crucial voting that is coming to Parliament.
The coming hours and days will show what’s really in the mind of the leader of Independent Greeks.
According to information, Giannis Mouzalas submitted his resignation to the prime minister.