ATHENS – If a coalition is needed because of an inconclusive 2023 election, New Democracy won’t work with the far-right Hellenic Solution, government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said.
A change in electoral laws passed by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA in its waning days before being routed by New Democracy in July, 2019 snap elections took away a 50-seat bonus in the 300-member Parliament for a winning party.
That makes it unlikely that the Conservatives would be able to form a single-party government if they won and would have to look for a partner or face a second-election with a lower bar to win more seats.
Hellenic Solution is led by a TV pitchman, Kyriakos Velopoulos, who touts products like hair growth serum even though he has thinning air and who vents against refugees and other targets he considers enemies of Greece.
“There’s a lot that separates us with the party of Mr. Velopoulos, both at the level of principles and of values. We are also far apart when it comes to the country’s position on major issues,” Oikonomou told Antenna TV.
That was in reference to the party not going along with supporting Ukraine during the invasion by Russia and standing against health measures the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Oikonomou didn’t mention that New Democracy has, however, brought into its fold and made ministers out of former members of the nationalist LAOS party that was almost as extreme.
“Our position is clear: A government that is cohesive and united by at least some common denominators that take us in the same direction,” he said.
“But our unchanged position is that, given the political situation abroad and inside Greece, the country needs a strong, one-party government. This is what we’re aiming for, and this is what we will tell the Greek people in all honesty,” he added, apparently not wanting any partners.
He was responding to comments by Interior Minister Makis Voridis, who left LAOS to jump to New Democracy and was rewarded for it despite critics saying he was anti-semitic, homophobic and a Fascist.
On Antenna TV, asked whether the Conservatives would be open to a coalition with Hellenic Solution Voridis said, “I don’t rule anyone out. Barring parties with a wildly different policy program, we could work with any party.”
But Oikonomou later said that wouldn’t be considered because, “If one looks to the East and the other looks to the West, a government cannot be formed,” with Hellenic Solution.