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The beginning of the end of Independent Greeks

11 December 2012 / 19:12:59  GRReporter
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Several months after its establishment and a dynamic entry into parliament, the Independent Greeks party is breaking up.

The beginning of the end began at the general meeting of the steering committee and the parliamentary group, where the first clash between the leader Panos Kammenos and the secretary of the parliamentary group, Kostas Markopoulos, flared up. Some minutes earlier, Panos Kammenos had announced in front of television cameras that the party congress would be held in late April. During the ensuing discussion, however, Kostas Markopoulos expressed the view that the party decisions should be taken by the party bodies as a result of a discussion about the course of the party.

According to sources, he asked why Panos Kammenos had taken alone the decision that party deputies should resign in order to force early elections. Kostas Markopoulos raised the question of why the party should seek the holding of early elections since 75% of Greeks were against such an option. He also asked the question of why the Independent Greeks "have opened wide the door to cooperation with SYRIZA, without laying down conditions and principles."

The deputy demanded disciplinary actions against the two members of the parliamentary group of the party, who, in his opinion, had not behaved themselves as they had abused members of other parties and he declared himself in favour of clearing of the members of the party and rejecting all those who abuse via the Internet.

After the secretary, parliamentary representative Christos Zois took the floor, expressed his full agreement with Kostas Markopoulos and stated that it was necessary to determine the identity and the course of the party.

After these words, Panos Kammenos stood up and instead of answering the question left the room, stating, "Now is not the time for such a discussion."

An hour later, the leader tried to push Kostas Markopoulos to the wall and demanded him to convene a meeting of the parliamentary group, but he refused. Nevertheless, the meeting was held, although a large number of deputies were absent from it, including Christos Zois and the secretary of the party Mihalis Giannakis. Panos Kammenos announced at the meeting that he had removed Kostas Markopoulos from the post of secretary of the parliamentary group and appointed Panagiotis Melas in this position.

In response to the internal party bickering, Panos Kammenos asked those attending the special meeting to sign a text against the deputies who "undermine the decisions of the leadership." It states, "There are no "leaders" among the Independent Greeks."

Earlier today, Christos Zois resigned as a representative of the Independent Greeks. Meanwhile, backdoor discussions about the future events are already underway and more than a few members of New Democracy, are ready to welcome the eventual return of Kostas Markopoulos and Christos Zois to the ranks of the "blue".

They both refuse to give information about their intentions, while some think that a new party - a representative of the "people’s" right wing with rhetoric against the memoranda for financial assistance might be established, involving members disaffiliated with Independent Greeks, independent deputies disaffiliated with New Democracy and perhaps some of the "blue" deputies.
Commentators claim that the crisis in the ranks of Independent Greeks was expected. Its members have been stressing for a long time the need for the party to determine its course and reported serious strategic mistakes in the actions of its leader Panos Kammenos. The greatest of which, according to them, was the probability of post-election cooperation with SYRIZA.

The drama does not end here, as other disturbances in the party are expected. The former "blue" unionist Yiannis Manolis announced that he was leaving the party and then, he did not forget to present Panos Kammenos’ strategy to the media. He responded with an official announcement, accusing him of starting a rebellion in the party.

In an interview for Skai TV, Giannis Manolis said that during the negotiations for the formation of the government, Panos Kammenos had really submitted to President Karolos Papoulias an unsigned document, requesting that he be put in charge of the defence ministry. When the media learnt this, the leader of Independent Greeks said that the document was fake and threatened to file a claim against the President. "Kammenos submitted the document in order to become part of the composition of the cabinet and the minister of defence. His first mistake was that he submitted it and the second one was that he called the President a liar," said Yiannis Manolis.

He called Panos Kammenos a "rabbit" because he had left the meeting of party bodies. "He convenes a meeting first and then goes away. I saw a party leader disappear like a rabbit for the first time. He does not want either a party or a congress. Actually, nothing is functioning in the party."

Among the hot news that he related in a very impressive manner was the revelation that Panos Kammenos had convinced the deputies that he had talked with Barack Obama and that the dollar would be introduced in Greece. "Kammenos has repeatedly stated that he does not want responsibilities, to take the "hot potato" in hand and be an assistant of SYRIZA... He says one thing in the morning and something quite different in the evening. Our party cannot just say that it is against the memoranda; we need to have our proposals. Is it a solution to introduce the dollar as an official currency? How innocent is it to talk about something like this in your opinion?"

Panos Kammenos responded with attacks on the "professional politicians," who had invaded his party like a Trojan horse. Analysts say the processes taking place in the party are beyond his control and new developments are expected in the coming days.

Tags: PoliticsIndependent GreeksPanos KammenosBreak up
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