Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held talks today with Mayor Yannis Boutaris, and both agreed that the 19 May attack against Boutaris was organised.
“This was not a chance and isolated event, but rather a planned and organised attack,» Tsipras said.
Tsipras said that there were no links between Boutaris and his assailants, and that the mayor had in the past attended the memorial for the genocide of the Pontian Greeks every year, without incident.
Boutaris said that the four individuals who were tried and convicted are simply the small fry, and that authorities will pursue the organisers that masterminded the attack.
Denying early elections
Tsipras ruled out the prospect of early elections, but he hinted that he will support Boutaris candidacy in a prospective 2019 re-election bid.
The PM said that he would be foolish to not want to stay on after the August end of the bailout memorandum, when Greece will be “a country that decides for itself”.
“The government’s term ends in 2019. We are fighting to exit the memorandums,” he said, noting he cannot understand why the main opposition is pushing for elections.
Tsipras also declared it will be a big victory for Greece if FYROM talks end with acceptance of a composite name.
He noted that the country has been known as Macedonia for 70 years, and that those who claim he is “giving away” the name Macedonia seem to forget that.
“We are attempting to get something, not to give away something that was given away 70 years ago by others,” he said.
When the late Tito led Yugoslavia and named the region Macedonia, the then Greek government had not raised particular objections.
“Negotiations are in a critical phase. We are proceeding and defending our national position…They have no relation to Alexander the Great. They have Slavic and Albanian roots. For us to gain a marker before the name Macedonia is a major victory,” Tsipras said.