Just as many believed that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ junior coalition partner was beginning to soften his stance on what the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be called, Independent Greeks party leader and Defence Minister Panos Kammenos declared he is sticking to his guns.
“There is only one Macedonia and it is Greek, as [the late president] Konstantinos Karamanlis said. We will not cede the Greek term Macedonia. There are Slavic names, such as Vardarska, which can be used and which do not include the word Macedonia, and which we can accept,” Kammenos told a meeting of his party’s national council yesterday.
Kammenos declared that his party will accept neither the name New Macedonia nor Upper Macedonia, which have been touted in the press.
Many believe that the right-wing politician is attempting to exploit an issue that stirs nationalist rage to beef up his support, as it appears from all recent polls that Independent Greeks cannot muster the three percent of the vote needed in the net general elections to enter parliament.
Kammenos did, however, reiterate his trust in Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.
He said, once again, that if his party disagrees with the settlement that Kotzias may strike, he will ask President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to convene the Council of Party leaders, as was done in 1992 by Konstantinos Karamanlis, when party leaders decided they would not accept use of the name Macedonia by Skopje.