Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who heads up the junior partner in the current coalition government, on Friday took advantage of the latest statements by the prime minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Zoran Zaev, to again express his absolute opposition to the Prespa agreement.
Kammenos, who founded and leads the small right-wing Independent Greeks' (AN.EL), has walked a "political tightrope" since June - when the provisional pact was signed pending ratification. He has repeatedly said he and his remaining MPs will not vote in favor of the agreement. At the same time, he remains firmly in place on the Cabinet and in the defense minister's influential chair and continues to back every legislative initiative by the leftist-rightist coalition he formed with Alexis Tsipras.
"It's obvious that every discussion for the survival of the so-called Prespa agreement has ended," he said, adding that the Skopje government's behavior is irredentist and provocative.
The outspoken and controversial career politician has promised to leave the Cabinet when, and if, the Prespa agreement comes before Greece's Parliament for ratification, where it will need 150+1 MPs to pass. The current legislature's composition will remain the same for at most another year, until 2019, as general elections must be held before that time.
AN.EL, which espouses a national conservative ideology, squeezed into Parliament twice (January 2015 and September 2015) on the back of a virulently populist platform opposing memorandum bailouts and austerity measures and with hefty doses of Euroscepticism. Nevertheless, practically all mainstream opinion polls over the past year and a half show the party as a long-shot for renewed Parliament representation.