ATHENS – In political oblivion after pulling his tiny party as the junior partner in a coalition with the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader and former defense minister Panos Kammenos insisted he had left a legacy of defending Greece.
Since leaving the government in opposition to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ deal to give away the name of the ancient Greek province Macedonia to a newly-renamed North Macedonia, ANEL has fallen below the 3 percent threshold needed to get back into Parliament in general elections later this year.
The party also has no statistical chance of winning seats in the May 26 elections for the European Parliament or Greek municipalities but Kammenos, who, since leaving has taken repeated snipes at SYRIZA, said ANEL had played a key role in the government.
“Above all is the unity of the nation, and ANEL was able to safeguard it for four years,” Kammenos said during a visit to the nationalist party’s election campaign kiosk in Athens even as his party had crumbled around him with defections to SYRIZA.
“This must continue now that we have exited the bailout programs,” Kammenos said, referring to the Aug. 20, 2018 end of three international rescue packages of 326 billion euros ($364.06 billion.)