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Karadzaferis changed his mind about the memorandum, Voridis and Georgiadis are leaving

12 February 2012 / 19:02:54  GRReporter
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Three months participating in the coalition government proved to be sufficient for the National Orthodox Group (LAOS) to split and its parliamentary group to face the danger of disintegration. Polls show less and less support for LAOS, while all other parties except for PASOK seem to have increasing influence among the voters, which made leader George Karadzaferis oppose the memorandum and terminate his relationship with the four most prominent members of the party.

Some of the departing parliament members believe the change in Karadzaferis’ position is due to a possible alliance with the independent parliament member Panos Kamenos, and his efforts to regain the support from the disaffected voters, who are opposed to the memorandum. Now the "Golden Dawn" Party and the created in the moment formation of Kamenos are trying to attract these voters on their side.

Clouds in the headquarters of LAOS began to thicken last Sunday, when considering newspaper polls, Karadzaferis found that he is paying a high political price for his support of Papademos' Government. "It is time to get our act together", he said to his surprised parliament members, who initially thought that this was one of the many impulsive statements of their leader, which are usually forgotten the next day.

“Didn’t we vote for the first memorandum?”

After the President of LAOS attended the meeting of political leaders, however, things at the headquarters of the party began to become more serious. On Wednesday evening Karadzaferis secretly invited parliament members, who he suspected would not obey his orders, to his office. From them, four confirmed his suspicions. Makis Voridis, Adonis Georgiadis, Athanasios Plevris and Nikki Dzavela informed him that they could not vote against the memorandum, since for a period of three months they had been fiercely defending the need to implement painful measures in order to enable the country to avoid bankruptcy.

"We voted for the first memorandum that cut salaries and pensions and we will not vote for the second one, which is less harsh?", asked Georgiadis and Voridis added: "How can you be a member of a government and vote against its major decisions?” Similar thoughts were expressed by parliament member Nikki Dzavela, without clarifying, however, whether she will publicly disagree with the leader.

Despite attempts to be convinced otherwise, Karadzaferis insisted on his decision, and things started to finally emerge on Thursday night when the leader of LAOS asked to meet with the President of the Republic.

Originally Voridis, Georgiadis and Plevris clearly told George Karadzaferis that they would support the memorandum. After Karadzaferis’ press conference, however, Athanasios Plevris rethought and decided ultimately to obey. Nikki Dzavela was abroad on Friday but when she talked with party members she did not seem determined to oppose her leader.

Facing the threat of rebellion

To prevent new cases of rebellion the LAOS leader made it clear to his members that he will raise the issue of discipline within party ranks, and therefore cannot tolerate cases of disobedience. After this statement Makis Voridis and Adonis Georgiadis faced only one dilemma - to become independent or to wait for Karadzaferis to exclude them from the party.

Immediately, and without hesitating, they decided to resign from the government positions they were holding. Similarly they made the decision to support the memorandum. And in order for us not to be quick to assume that there was already a secret agreement for cooperation with New Democracy, both informed his political friends, that there was no communication with the largest opposition party. On Friday evening Voridis and Georgiadis finally decided to vote for the memorandum and not to declare themselves as independent parliament members. Tonight they will announce whether they will stay in the party pending the decision of Karadzaferis or will resign as parliament members.

The other two LAOS members - George Georgiou and Asterios Rondoulis remained on Karadzaferis’ side. The Deputy Minister of Defence and Deputy Minister of Agriculture handed in their resignations to the Prime Minister, and explained, however, that they will vote against the memorandum obeying the orders of their leader Karadzaferis.

Open dialogue with Panos Kamenos

At first glance Karadzaferis’ decision to vote against the memorandum seems disastrous, as he thus loses some of his best-trained and prominent members. This represents also a blow to the party's image, because in this way it is identified with political parties, which until recently were accused of having a barren strategy against the Memorandum. "Woe to us. Now Alexis Tsipras will destroy us", noted the most moderate members of LAOS, recalling the confrontation of the leader of the left coalition SYRIZA and their president Karadzaferis in the middle of last week.

However Karadzaferis sees the situation from a different angle. As he explained in the last few days to his interlocutors, he could no longer serve a tired political system and support the inefficient decisions for the salvation of the country.

In reality, however, apparently he was frightened by the fall in popularity due to his participation in the government, and "the spill" of his supporters to other parties, with a firm policy against the memorandum, such as the party "Golden Dawn" and the new party of Panos Kamenos, which will be officialy set up next Sunday.

Tags: Greece LAOS New Democracy Papademos Memorandum
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