In the absence of a concrete agreement with the institutions over whether next year’s pre-legislated pension cuts can be cancelled, the domestic political agenda is being taken up by the parties trading accusations over alleged corruption.
The developing legal case against former PASOK minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who was remanded in custody on Tuesday, could have a significant impact on Greek politics ahead of the next elections.
The threats by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos to walk out of the coalition if the Prespes Agreement comes to Greek Parliament appear to have left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras unperturbed and apparently confident that he can do without his governing partner.
Defence Minister Panos Kammenos has vowed to stick with the government until the Prespes Agreement, ratified by MPs in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Friday night, comes to Greek Parliament, although his opposition to the deal means that the coalition is likely to face more turbulence.
While the departure of Nikos Kotzias from the high-profile position of foreign minister is a blow for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, especially as the key diplomatic achievement of his time in office – the Prespes Agreement on the Macedonia name issue – is at a crucial juncture, it is unlikely that it will lead to any material change to the SYRIZA leader’s political plans.
One of the government’s most high-profile figures, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, resigned on Wednesday, forcing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras into another damage limitation exercise when he would prefer the spotlight to be on his government’s latest initiatives on the economic front instead.
After days of mounting tension between SYRIZA and its coalition partner, Independent Greeks (ANEL), Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attempted on Tuesday to stress the need for unity in the government as Greece enters a decisive period for all political parties.
Among the dominant themes in the upcoming election campaign in Greece will be the state of the country’s institutions and the rule of law, which New Democracy sees as areas where it can score points over SYRIZA.
There seems no end to the friction between Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos and his governing partner SYRIZA but, at the same time, there appears little chance of the apparent bad blood causing a sudden and terminal rift in the coalition.
Comments by Defence Minister Panos Kammenos during an official trip to the USA have heaped new pressure on SYRIZA’s increasingly troubled governing alliance with his small nationalist party, Independent Greeks (ANEL).