The leader of a small right-wing party threatened yesterday to pull it out of Greece's governing coalition if a deal settling a row over Macedonia's name comes to parliament, increasing uncertainty in a country that just emerged from bailouts.
Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Panos Kammenos, leader of the Independent Greeks party, joined forces in 2015 with the stated aim of pulling Greece out of its then-debt crisis and fight corruption that flourished under socialist and conservative rule and pushed Greece to the verge of bankruptcy. But the new deal Tsipras's government struck with Macedonia that changes its name to North Macedonia has shattered the coalition's honeymoon after Greece's bailout exit in August, refocusing attention on the coalition's contradictions.
"I won't vote for this deal if it comes to parliament," Kammenos, who is defense minister, told state TV ERT after a trip to the United States, where he presented his party's stance and what he called an alternative scenario, if the deal fails. "If the parliamentary majority decides a divorce, so be it, there will be one," he said, adding that his personal relationship with Tsipras remained "harmonious." Greek nationalists have opposed the name deal, contending that Macedonia is historically Greek and part of Greek heritage. Greece's coalition government, whose term ends late next year, is backed by 153 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament. Kammenos' party holds 7 seats. Tsipras has repeatedly ruled out early elections.
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