The ruling Syriza party has issued a statement blasting the organisers of the huge rally against FYROM using the name Macedonia, and identifying main opposition New Democracy with the far right Golden Dawn party.
“Today’s demonstration completely belied the expectations of its organisers, who over the last few days raised the bar of massive participation, assisted by a large segment of the media, which acted as communications sponsors.
The nationalist and intolerant message in the speeches, and the presence of the entirety of the Golden Dawn party, determined the message. Moreover, the presence of the former prime minister and ex-New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, highlighted the opportunistic stance of the main opposition party, which does not hesitate to place its bets in full coordination with the far right, to divide the Greek people, and to exploit its patriotic concerns,” read the Syriza party statement.
“Mr. Mitsotakis’ stance on this issue is a monument of hypocrisy and irresponsibility, as it does not dare to clarify in the public debate its position on the [FYROM] naming issue, despite the fact that in the recent past New Democracy handled the issue while in power,” the party statement read, while expressing support for the government’s management of the issue.
“The peaceful coexistence of peoples, and security and stability in the Balkans, are the strongest guarantees of guarding the national interests, and express the quest of the majority of the Greek people for a future beyond dead-end and pointless isolationism,” the statement concluded.
New Democracy blasts government
In a harsh attack against the government, main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis charged that the massive protest demonstrates that Greeks do not trust the government to handle crucial national issues.
“New Democracy, and I personally, from the first moment supported the right of citizens to demonstrate freely, peacefully, and democratically, as the Constitution mandates. Today’s expression of national pride by hundreds of thousands of citizens who descended on Syntagma Square from every corner of the country, had no partisan tinges. No one can exploit politically such a large demonstration. Yet, citizens today expressed their anguish,” Mitsotakis’ statement reads.
“There is a lack of trust in a government which, instead of cooperating from the start with the opposition in order to determine together a national position, did all in its power to divide the political parties and the Greek people, on a crucial national issue. Mr. Tsipras did not attempt to forge national unity. He displayed contempt for the patriotic sentiments of citizens. He sowed winds and is reaping storms. It is obvious that Greeks no longer trust Mr. Tsipras, Mr. Kammemos (defence minister and leader of junior coalition partner Independent Greeks], or [foreign minister] Mr. Kotzias, to negotiate anything, much less a major national issue,” Mitsotakis said.