“For four years we had an honest partnership…though we came from different political families,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday, referring to his party’s cooperation with the Independent Greeks (ANEL) and its leader Panos Kammenos, in statements to reporters after Kammenos announced his party’s withdrawal from the coalition government.
“I accepted the resignation of the defence minister,” the prime minister told reporters, noting that their parties’ collaboration had succeeded in leading Greece out of the memorandum programmes while supporting the weaker members of society and opening up the way to fighting corruption.
He thanked Kammenos for his “irreplaceable” contribution over this time, noting that he had asked him for “plain speaking”.
Tsipras announced that he had already contacted the president of the Hellenic Parliament and asked him to initiate the proceedings for holding a vote of confidence in the government, so that it might complete its term under the constitution in October 2019.
“At crucial times each of us has an obligation to assume his or her responsibility toward the country and to what we deeply believe to be in the nation’s interests,” the prime minister noted. Even though the constitution allowed him to continue by seeking ad hoc majorities in Parliament, he added, “I did not do this in 2015…and I will not do it now.”
The prime minister said that he needed Parliament’s confidence in order to move forward with the great changes that are necessary for the country, which will provide society with relief but also upgrade Greece’s international role.
According to sources, the relevant parliamentary process will begin on Tuesday and be concluded with a vote on Thursday.
The prime minister also announced that Greece’s new defence minister will be chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.