Posts tagged ‘Venizelos’

Tsipras probe into submarines deal “shakes” the unity of the two–party Greek government


Alexis Tsipras, SYRIZA President, announced his intention to ask for a probe into a submarine deal signed in 2010 and which he claims has “an aroma of scandal”. Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, present Chairman of PASOK and vice-chairman of the present Greek government was the minister of defence when the disputed deal was signed.

The bad feeling between Venizelos and Minister of Defence Avramopoulos resulted from the latter’s reply to Tsipras that this government has nothing to fear and that whatever “underhanded business” is of an earlier date.

Venizelos took this as a personal affront from Avramopoulos and replied, during the Parliament discussion that ensued, that it is not  a Minister’s job  to” describe situations. Neither are they there to play the good guy to the opposition but to bear responsibility and bring results”.


The Prime Minister’s office took no sides and in spite of Avramopoulos’ clarification that he was referring to the Tsohatzopoulos’case,  Venizelos continues to feed the feud. The PASOK press office released to day a letter sent to Avramopoulos the day before the Parliamentary discussion giving him “directions” on how to deal with Tsipras accusations.

Something old, nothing new, all borrowed, all blue… The song of the new Greek government

After a week of rumours about reshuffling, after ousting its only progressive alibi (the Democratic Left of Mr. Fotis Kouvelis), after the failure of privatisation (selling off for the opposition) of various state companies, after the notorious mishandling of the ERT reorganisation Mr. Samaras announced the composition of his new government.

The “new” government, which was sworn in at noon, is the epitome of irony. It is made up of the two parties that led Greece in the post – dictatorship era and have singlehandedly managed to turn it into the bankrupt state it is today. New Democracy and PASOK promise to show Greece the way out of the chaos they have created!!

A quick look at the political personalities involved is enough to cause instant depression to any logical person: Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, PASOK chairman, appointed deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, has served in ministerial positions in the majority of the PASOK governments. His name is involved with the Lagarde list scandal since he was the Minister of Finance to succeed chief suspect Mr. Papaconstantinou. Mr. Mihalis Chrisohoides, who has also served as Minister of National Security, heads a new ministry and together with another 8 high profile PASOK leading personalities provides the “green” of the government.

The very “blue” background is provided by all the rest with Mr. Dendias, of the “xenios zeus” project, carrying on as Minister of Citizen Protection(!), the much criticised Mr. Stournaras unmovable in the Economy Ministry while Mr. Adonis Georgiadis, a recruit from Mr. Karatzaferis’Orthodox Rally, appointed Minister of Health to the delight of cartoonists and satirists…

Ms. Fofi Gennimatas is the daughter of a prominent and popular PASOK leading figure – she is now deputy Minister. Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, son of former Prime Minister Kostas Mitsotakis, is the new Minister of Social Reform. Mr. Pantelis Kapsis, new Minister for the state radio -television company, is a prominent journalist and the son of a PASOK former minister. Mr. Kapsis has held a high position in the Lambrakis publishing group and was the spokesperson of the Papadimos government. Mr. Varvitsiotis, new Minister of Marine, is the son of a former New Democracy Minister. Family tradition is strong in Greece.

At the same time Greek society was shocked to hear of the bankruptsy of one more company considered “healthy” . The Katselis bakeries filed for bankruptsy leaving another 480 people unemployed!!

The new government has very little time to perform the required reforms and it is my view that it has neither the ability nor the will. We shall see.

Greek government discards its last rag of democracy

The tripartite Greek government has managed to lose its one partner who had exhibited traces of democratic and social sensitivity. Democratic Left, a split of Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology (SYNASPISMOS), has retired from the government and recalled its two Ministers and one deputy minister.

Mainstream media journalists were wondering why Democratic Left has “deserted” the government over the ERT (Greek Radio and Television) shut down. They conveniently forget that less than a month ago New Democracy -the right wing major government partner – rejected, not elegantly, the antiracist law tabled by Democratic Left Minister of Justice Antonis Roupakiotis. At the same time heavy criticism was addressed to the other Democratic Left Minister, Prof. Manitakis.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos decided to carry on with what he calls “responsible” stance and remains in the government after Prime Minister Samaras promised to evaluate and re-draw the government plans.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Economy which has been appointed as the ERT manager until its “restructure”,  has asked for the evacuation of the ERT headquarters. The employees’ reply was a call to everyone who opposes this scheme to guard the grounds and for Sunday the 26th to be international mobilisation day against the closing down of ERT. The ERT Mansion in Agia Paraskevi is run by the ERT employees with the support of thousands of union members, artists who have worked for ERT, supporters of the National Radio and Television network and other citizens shocked by the abrupt closing down of the state run company.


Friday night found thousands watching Vassilis Papakonstantinou, top rock performer, giving a free concert in the ERT gardens and members of the Actors’ Union reading poems and performing impromptu monologues, opera singers singing arias and a special song dedicated to the Taksim demonstrators.




Tragi-comedy in Greek Parliament

Mr.Kasidiaris, Mr.Georgiadis and Ms.KonstantopoulouMore tragicomic events are enfolding during the Lagarde list investigation committee’s meeting today.

The sessions of this committee are steadily becoming better than any serial on the greek television.

One of the main stars of the show is, once again, Mr. Ilias Kassidiaris, Golden Dawn spokesman. According to reports, during the deposition of Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, PASOK Chairman, Mr. Kassidiaris used vulgar language and left after throwing a glass of water (I could not understand against whom) and breaking a microphone. The dialogue between Ms.Zoe Konstantopoulou, SYRIZA MP and Mr. Venizelos was  more civilised but not less aggressive. Mr. Adonis Georgiadis, New Democracy MP, did not miss the opportunity to attack Ms Konstantopoulou with very biting remarks.

Mr. Venizelos’deposition is in progress and the question that arises is whether Mr. George Papandreou, former PM, will come to answer the MPs’questions or will make a written statement.

It is very disconcerting to have to watch such behaviour when Greek society is faced with tragic developments and the Greek Parliament spends a day “At the circus” with Marx Brothers.

News flash from Greece

  • One of the three college students hospitalized in critical condition after inhaling carbon monoxide from a home-made coal burning heating device, is expected to be released tomorrow although he has not been tested for brain damage. The other two are still in critical condition
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  • The PASOK Congress is over amid doubts and questions. Mr. Venizelos and his leading group claim that this is a new start for PASOK. The youth organisation managed to impose its demand that no government appointed officials could be elected to the Central Committee.
  • GoldenDawnHeraklionGolden Dawn extreme right wing party has announced its intention to create nursery schools “for Greeks only”. During an open rally Golden Dawn members of Parliament accused Greek teachers of teaching “communist” doctrines to the children. The resemblance to the apartheid tactics is more than obvious and causes concern in  many circles. Church dignitaries have reacted calling the racist party a danger for society.

New Greek government of unknown composition

It has finally been decided that a Greek government can be appointed since three of the political parties have agreed to support it. Right wing New Democracy, Social democratic PASOK and left wing Democratic Left have met and now the discussion has moved to its composition.

Mr. Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the Democratic Left has just left Mr. Samaras office in Parliament and stated that his party’s participation in the new government was decided by the large majority of the Parliamentary group and that their main concern now is the kind of policies to be implemented and not the government’s composition.

On the PASOK front, Mr. Venizelos’proposal for a technocrats’ government has not met with enthousiasm in the party’s Parliamentary group. According to journalists’ reports well known MPs have argued against the leader’s proposal.
Discussions are in progress.
These developments have left a bitter taste to the citizens since the denial of the same parties to form a government after the last elections has not been fully justified.

Who is afraid of SYRIZA?

May 6 elections in Greece was a political earthquake. The two parties  – PASOK and New Democracy – that had monopolized government and power in the post dictatorship Greece were thoroughly beaten. The problem is that while the people decided that these two needed a thrashing, the clientele system that they had established together with the fear of the new and the electoral system (the party that wins the largest number of votes on a Panhellenic scale gets a bonus of 50 Parliaments seats!) prevented a decisive victory by any other political force.

Now, almost a month before the new elections, the ruling elite is using all its reserves to attack the one power  they consider a threat: SYRIZA and its leader Alexis Tsipras. Television is still the main source of information for thousands of people and it is used to spread all sorts of half truths, misinterpretation and in some cases outright lies against the Coalition of Radical Feft. On round tables, on interviews, even during the news broadcasts the private tv channels fire in unison against any idea put forward by the SYRIZA representatives. One wonders why …

It is my belief that the last elections and the disintegration of PASOK left a gap: Greek citizens who consider themselves “centrists” are now left homeless.The recent actions of both formerly big parties bear witness to this. Mr. Samaras will cooperate in the coming elections with the Democratic Alliance of Dora Bakoyianni, former Foreign Affairs Minister in a New Democracy government. Ms Bakoyianni, daughter of Mr. Kostas Mitsotakis, was Mr. Samaras’rival for the leadership of New Democracy. Ms Bakoyianni left New Democracy when Mr. Samaras refused to sign the first Memorandum and formed her own party which fared very badly at the last elections. What’s more Mr. Samaras is welcoming to New Democracy MPs from the Popular Orthodox Rally, like Mr. Adonis Georgiadis and Mr. Voridis. His aim is to form a center-right party.

Mr. Venizelos has a much more difficult task because Members of Parliament of PASOK, who disagree with the bailout and the austerity measures which accompany it, have left the party and either formed new parties or joined other parties. He is therefore playing his last card, that of Europe and the changing balance of power there. Mr. Venizelos had a private meeting with Mr. Hollande who refused to see Mr. Tsipras, with the excuse that they belong to the same political family, that is socialdemocracy, or centre left…

The veiled threat that if you vote left then all sorts of catastrophes will befall the country is an argument that needs no answer except a sense of humor and is extensively used by both old parties. The Greek electorate is maturing fast and we shall soon see how far these tactics will influence them.