Anti-nationalist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Radical Left SYRIZA party are rejoicing, but 68.3 percent of Greek are not over the government’s deal to give away the name Macedonia to North Macedonia.
That was the finding in a poll conducted by Marc for the Proto Thema newspaper, mirroring the sentiments before Tsipras agreed to let the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) keep the name of an ancient Greek province in a new designation.
Tsipras said he would also lift Greek vetoes and open the door for FYROM to enter NATO and start a European Union accession bid even before the deal goes to the Parliaments of both companies, taking a chance if it’s rejected the effect will be irreversible anyway.
More troubling for him was 73.2 percent of respondents said they specifically rejected FYROM to take the word Macedonia even while being called North Macedonia. Tsiporas also agreed to let North Macedonian citizens be called Macedonians and say their language was Macedonian.
He also didn’t wait for a change in that country’s Constitution to remove irredentist claims on Greek lands, including the real Macedonia as well as the second-largest city and major port of Thessaloniki.
Even 49 percent of those who said voted for and support SYRIZA and Tsipras, despite his repeating reneging on anti-austerity promises said they were opposed, as is his own junior coalition partner, the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos.
But Kammenos voted against a no-confidence measure brought in Parliament against Tsipras by the major rival New Democracy Conservatives although he booted from his party a veteran lawmaker, Dimitris Kammenos, who voted against the Premier.
Panos Kammenos said he would vote against the deal when it gets to Parliament but not against Tsipras, who made it and said he would also boot from the party anyone who voted for the deal even though they voted to support the man who brought it.
The poll also saw the major opposition New Democracy party jump its lead from 10.1 to 14.4 percent after Tsipras signed off on the agreement with FYROM and with SYRIZA having under 10 percent support in the real Macedonia and adjoining areas.
New Democracy had a 30.6-16.2 percent lead over SYRIZA, followed by the new center-left coalition Movement for Change (KINAL) with 7.5 percent, 7.3 percent for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn and 6.3 percent for the KKE Communists, their usual standing.
increasing its lead over SYRIZA to 14.4 percent, with the leftist party polling in the single digits in parts of northern Greece, where the Macedonia name issue is particularly sensitive.
ANEL and the Union of Centrists, now in the Parliament, didn’t get close to the 3 percent needed to return when elections are next held.