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Editorial

When a Prime Minister Had to Prove He was Not Being Blackmailed…

February 5, 2019

This is a first in the political life of Greece, and not a satisfying achievement: a prime minister who needed to prove that he is not … being blackmailed.

Think about it – isn’t that amazing?

This past weekend Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, emphasized the following in his speeches : “What secrets connect Tsipras and Kammenos?…Mr. Tsipras is now a Prime Minister who is a victim of public extortion. And everyone knows that a blackmailer never stops, no matter how much he gets. And it is also clear to all that a blackmailed prime minister cannot continue to serve in that office, poses a threat to the country.”

The reason for Mitsotakis’ very serious charge against Prime Minister Tsipras was the move by the President of Parliament to change the body’s rules so that the leader his former coalition partner and past Defense Minister Panos Kammenos will not lose the title of party leader. The rules requires that when a party’s parliamentary representation is reduced to less than five members he loses the benefits of “ tha party leader”.

And the title of party leader is accompanied by many benefits, more than we ordinary mortals imagine.

Tsipras could not leave this heavy charge unanswered. Heaven help us if he had not responded. It would have been tantamount to admitting to wrong doing.

Nevertheless, Tsipras’ letter to the President of Parliament did not help his cause.

Judge for yourself: “…in fact, I have never been blackmailed by anyone, but since I will not allow by democratic sensitivities to make me vulnerable to slander, I ask you not to take any initiative to change the current rules, not even a single punctuation mark. And regarding any ambiguity in the current regulations, please refer it for an opinion of the Scientific Committee of Parliament.”

In other words, beyond the big talk, the bottom line is that they have found an indirect way – through the … Scientific Committee, obviously appointed by them – to ensure a positive answer that will enable Tsipras to meet Mr.  Kammenos’ extortionate demand.

Few, I think, will be fooled.

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