SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has come under fire from New Democracy and PASOK for suggesting that coalition MPs who are disgruntled with current policy should “abandon the government”.
Tsipras made the suggestion in Avgi newspaper and immediately came under attack from PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who accused the SYRIZA leader of trying to encourage an “apostasy”.
The PASOK leader’s mention of “apostasy” is a reference to the decision of a group of MPs from the left-leaning Center Union, led by Georgios Papandreou, to quit the party in 1965 and help form a government put together by Greece’s king at the time, Constantine II. In April 1967, the military took control of the country.
“It shows that the SYRIZA leadership and whoever directs it have no connection to the tradition, sensitivities, memories and historical conscience that Andreas Papandreou ensured was embodied in PASOK after the military dictatorship,” Venizelos told Ta Nea.
Tsipras also came under fire from government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou. “Reminding us of the darker days of parliamentarianism, Mr Tsipras has placed an advertisement asking for apostates,” said Kedikoglou.
“He will not find any willing victims. His unprecedented act, though, attempts to poison political life and writes the darkest page in SYRIZA’s history.”
SYRIZA spokesman Panos Skourletis dismissed the government’s criticism and argued that Tsipras was merely stating the obvious.
“MPs have a responsibility to those who voted for them and have a free conscience,” he told Skai radio.