With Alexis Tsipras’ coalition partner Panos Kammenos constantly declaring his opposition to a FYROM name settlement, despite the recent very public effort to patch up ties, it appears that ruling Syriza has already advanced its planning on how to retain a parliamentary majority once this marriage of convenience ends, if it does.

If the government tables in parliament a settlement proposal for a composite name that includes the word Macedonia – and there can be no other – then Kammenos and his Independent Greeks party are considered certain to withdraw from the cabinet.

It now appears that the government has already done the groundwork to secure the requisite number of MPs to pass a settlement with Skopje, and to allow it to rule thereafter until the end of its term, or whenever the PM calls elections.

Thereafter, the Independent Greeks can still act as the necessary reserve that has allowed Syriza to rule for the last three years, though that is not certain.

Despite Kammenos’ recent renewal of vows of abiding devotion “to the end” of the government’s term, it is clear that Alexis Tsipras is considering alternative parliamentary alliances.

While Tsipras recently held talks with To Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis, there was no indication that a political partnership was in the offing.

That means the prime minister may well have to cherry pick MPs from other parties, with all the allegations of political betrayal from the “donor parties” that this might entail.

That group of MPs reportedly could include one or two isolated MPs from the Independent Greeks (physician Thanasis Papachristopoulos is rumoured to be one of them), three MPs of the Centrists’ Union Party (from districts in northern Greece and Thessaly – one of the party’s former MPs has already migrated to SYRIZA), and two or three MPs from To Potami (districts in Crete and Attica) – who would be willing to collaborate in backing a SYRIZA government.

Vasilis Kanellis


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