Scenarios of rupture between the two government coalition partners left-wing SYRIZA and nationalist-conservative Independent Greeks (ANEL) are growing, despite the fact that government officials from SYRIZA vehemently dismiss them.
What makes the issue more suspenseful is that a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with ANEL leader and Defense Minister, Panos Kammenos, scheduled to take place tomorrow Tuesday.
Media close to conservative opposition parties are drawing a grim picture of the relationship between the coalition partners, and some newspaper even reported of a “big dispute” between Tsipras-Kammenos during a secret meeting the two had last Friday. Kammenos had allegedly complained to Tsipras that he is being left outside important decisions.
At the same time, Kammenos has reportedly imposed a “media silence” to all his MPs, until the important announcement he is planning to make tomorrow to his parliamentary group.
Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Monday that the Tsipras-Kammenos meeting aims “to explore new actions” with regards to the two Greek soldiers still in custody in high security prison of Edirne in Turkey. The spokesman dismissed all rupture scenarios saying these are “the wishful thinking of New Democracy.”
However, he was not able to say whether the meeting would take place after or before Kammenos’ meeting with his parliamentary group.
“There is constant communication between Tsipras and Kammenos, they are constantly speaking with each other, they are planning together the actions,” Tzanakopoulos told Skai TV.
The ideological differences between nationalist ANEL and left-wing SYRIZA have recently become visible especially with regards to key issues like the Macedonia name dispute and the arrest of the two Greek soldiers by Turkey, whom Kammenos described as “hostages” in contrast to official government line.
Also in the case of PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis who entered the soccer pitch with a gun fastened on his belt, some ANEL MP came forward to his defense, while the government suspended the domestic league.
And it is very true that Kammenos is extraordinarily quiet in recent days.
At the same time, Tsipras seems to be flirting with the Center Left and the Alignment Movement (PASOK) although the latter is try to be transformed into a new boarder political fraction of the country’s center left and it needs still time to be established as a new political party that could join a government coalition.
Theoretically, SYRIZA (145 seats) could abandon ANEL (6 seats) form a coalition with To Potami (6 seats) but then the government would be extraordinary weak in a Palriament of 300 seats.
Still theoretically speaking, the Alignment Movement could back such a government although To Potami has joined its new formation. But then again, even after that, To Potami hardly gets 1.5% in all public opinion polls -far below the 3% threshold – and is not considered a small yet strong partner.
On the practical side of the scenarios, the PASOK under Fofi Gennimata is trying to regain the power of the past, its leader said at the party congress over the weekend, she was confident to win the next parliamentary elections. This could well happen if citizens forget that it is the third attempt of PASOK after 2011 to change name, logo and tax number while the party has still debts to the state amounting millions of euros.
On the even more practical side of the Greek politics, let’s wait for the Tsipras-Kammenos meeting tomorrow and see what will happen.