“How long can the ruling coalition of Alexis Tsipras and Panos Kammenos last?”
That is the question posed these days by many in the Greece’s political halls of power, as Defense Minister Kammenos has been under sustained fire over his alleged illegal use of a middleman in an abortive munitions sale to Saudi Arabia.
Kammenos will answer a parliamentary question tabled by main opposition New Democracy on Monday, even as the press is reporting leaks that the conservative main opposition party is poised to make new revelations about the affair during the debate.
New Democracy, Pasok, and a segment of the media have been hammering Kammenos over the affair for weeks.
While the prime minister’s office maintains that the ruling coalition with right-wing Independent Greeks’ leader Kammenos is durable, many both within and outside the PM’s Syriza party are viewing Kammenos as the government’s Achilles heel.
More ominously, the fact that the prime minister’s office has steadfastly avoided any declaration of support was widely seen as a clear indication that Tsipras has cut Kammenos loose, leaving the leader of the junior coalition partner to fend for himself.
Tsipras today put to rest the notion that he is not backing Kammenos. In a letter to Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis requesting that the question be debated on Monday instead of tomorrow.
«As I do not propose to tolerate unbecoming and ridiculous attacks, I ask you to again postpone debate on the question until Monday, 27 December, so that I may be present and take a stand during parliamentary review,» the
prime minister wrote.
Kammenos will of course defend himself in parliament on Monday, in what is expected to be a stormy session, with more mutual recriminations between the government and opposition parties over scandals, past and present.
Top MPs of Fofi Gennimata’s Pasok/Democratic Left alliance, such as parliamentary representative and former Pasok minister Andreas Loverdos, are hammering the government over the alleged scandal and declare that Tsipras is effectively covering up Kammenos’ misdeeds.
The outcome of the affair will test the durability of the ruling coalition, which was the start viewed as a union of strange bedfellows.
What is clear that with the current composition of parliament it would be well nigh impossible for Tsipras to forge a coalition with any other party.