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Mitsotakis Boots MP for Saying Communists Bigger Threat Than Turks

ATHENS – Ignoring a party warning not to be provocative, New Democracy lawmaker Konstantinos Bogdanos, who has a history of right-wing extremism, was booted from the parliamentary group after quipping that Communists were a bigger threat to Greece than Turks.

It was the last straw for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who looked the other way in September when Bogdanos retweeted a post which listed the names of migrant children at a kindergarten in Athens, critics saying he put their lives at risks.

Bogdanos was speaking during a debate in Parliament about an agreement with France to buy warships which led him to reference General Giorgos Grivas, a Cypriot who served for the Greek Army during World War II and the civil war and declared a Communist threat.

“Grivas said we have three enemies: the British, the Turks and the communists. The greatest danger were the Communists,” said Bogadnos, known for shooting from the hip, but this time too much for the government to take.

Mitsotakis, who is in Slovenia to attend the informal European Council meeting and a European Union-Western Balkans, was informed and decided to expel him, state Greece's state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANMA.)

Greece's marginal KKE Communist party, which has only 15 seats in the 300-member Parliament and has hovered at around 6 percent of the vote for years, quickly accused Bogdanos of using rhetoric from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, whose former leaders are in jail.

In a social media post later, Bogdanos said that “(Having0 clear cut ideological views unfortunately has a cost in politics. Certain truths cannot be spoken without consequences,” which he felt swiftly.

He also added that being anti-Communist in Greece is a form of liberalism but Mitsotakis wasn't accepting any more excuses after the embarassment of the migrant toddler retweet which drew fury across the political spectrum.

In August, Bogdanos had laid a wreath at the site of a 1946-49 civil war battle along with representatives from the remnants of Golden Dawn, including one there for the party's jailed former spokesman, Ilias Kasidiaris.

Bogdanos admitted he was there but said so did MP Zisis Tsikalagias and the secretary of the Prime Minister’s office in Thessaloniki, Maria Antoniou, as New Democracy has admitted some extremists to its ranks.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias jumped in fast to condemn his party colleague Bogdanos in an unusual break in unity.

“We are not here to return to the bad past of our country but to discuss the survival of the country in the future,” he said.

“Any attempt today to project into the modern political life of the country the painful moments of the past for party-political gain is unacceptable. The association with Kasidiaris is unacceptable and the laying of a wreath with Golden Dawn is also unacceptable,” Dendias added.

In September, the major opposition SYRIZA ripped Mitsotakis for being too lenient with Bogdanos after the migrant toddler retweet which Bogdanos said he had done accidentally and was forgiven.

At that time, the Lefists said that Mitsotakis :covered for and does not dare to expel the fascist Bogdanos who targeted infants,. This confirms that he is a weak prime minister, who is afraid even of (someone like) Bogdanos.”

“As for justice, it continues to remain deaf to a series of offences that arise from the publication of the details of minors and their targeting with racist slurs by the New Democracy deputy,” the party added.

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