The SYRIZA – Independent Greeks (ANEL) coalition government received its first significant internal blow on Thursday as ANEL leader Panos Kammenos stripped Kostas Damavolitis of party membership for expressing his intent to vote “Yes” on Sunday’s referendum.
Speaking to Greek radio, Damavolitis stated he would cast a “Yes” vote on Sunday and believes that the referendum posses a dilemma between euro or drachma.
Damavolitis did not resign his ANEL membership. Kammenos, however, chose to expel him for his dissent from the party line, which is voting “No” in the referendum. Damavolitis will maintain his parliamentary seat but as an independent lawmaker.
Damavolitis was not the only one who shook the coalition. Four more ANEL lawmakers publicly questioned the referendum on Wednesday. Lawmakers Vasilis Kokkalis, Dimitris Kammenos, Nikolaos Mavrogiannis and Thanasis Papaxristopoulos separately expressed their discontent over the matter.
Kokkalis said that his main issues of concern were the imposed capital controls and the potential bank deposit haircuts. Kokkalis called on the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, to take back the referendum and noted that should the referendum still happen, he will not cast a vote.
Dimitris Kammenos also cited capital controls, which he says the government on Saturday, June 27, guaranteed would not happen, as justification for his call for the cancellation of the referendum. Kammenos also took issue with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ request for a two year deal with the European Stability Mechanism, which he believes essentially annuls the referendum and confuses the Greek people.
“I ask for the immediate removal of the referendum and the immediate return to the negotiating table with the aim of striking a deal until July 20, the due date of a 3.5-billion-euro European Central Bank bond that would lead to immediate default and activation of the term ‘cross default’ in the event that is not paid, which is the last possible date for our land to avoid grave tribulations,” Kammenos’ announcement read.
In response to these developments, Panos Kammenos responded that there is a war going on and anyone who is not up to the task should leave.