Greece: A government of political unorthodoxy

Greece: A government of political unorthodoxy

Christos Loutradis
Political personalities from a wide spectrum of ideological differentiation are participating in the first government of Alexis Tsipras and his far left political party, Syriza.
However, one of the major downfalls of the newly formulated government is the participation of the Independent Greeks in the government. A political party associated with the lowest levels of populism and anti-Europeanism is participating in the first government of a radical left party in Greece. Panos Kammenos, leader of the party and defense minister, is well-known for his nationalistic views and his questionable approach toward Israel and the Jewish community in Greece. His political statements are solely focused on a Greek-centric approach using an isolating and ethnocentric discourse. According to Kammenos, the Greek debt crisis is solely the product of the policies of the European Union and in particular, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The conspiracy-based theory of politics that Kammenos has introduced to a crisis-hit Greek society seems to have been a great success, as it has given him the ability to become the most important player in the Tsipras government. He is also the only person that slightly altered the focus of a leftist government to a more nationalistic approach. The leader of the Independent Greeks is an open supporter of Greek-Russian relations and a personal fan of President Vladimir Putin’s political ethos.

 The effect that Kammenos will have in the relations of Greece with other countries along with the alterations that he may bring in the foreign affairs dogma of Tsipras and his close political allies is just a matter of time. However, the presence of Nikos Kotzias as foreign minister in the government helps to provide a clearer picture of the new image in the foreign affairs of the Tsipras government. 

Kotzias, a well-known professor of international relations and political ex-friend of former Prime Minister Yorgos Papandreou, has a well-established notion of the foreign affairs of Greece. Kotzias believes in a multi-dimensional foreign affairs approach that doesn’t have as its cornerstone the dependence of Greece on the United States or the European Union, but takes advantage of the multiple tools that diplomacy gives to a nation with the geostrategic importance of Greece. Kotzias is also a strong supporter of the cultivation of Greek-Russian relations. At the same time, he is taking a more Euroskeptic approach to the position of the European Union and the effect that its policies have in member nations such as Greece. 

The new foreign minister, according to political analysts, will take a tougher stand on Greek-EU relations and Greek-Turkish relations, with his top priority being a different approach focused on religion-based alliances as with Russia and other Christian Orthodox nations. It is worth stating that from day one of its reign, the Tsipras government decided to differentiate itself from the Samaras government by abjuring an EU statement issued over the recent developments in Ukraine. In a press communiqué on Jan. 27, the general secretary of the Greek government argued that the EU had issued the statement without the prescribed procedure to obtain the consent of member states and particularly without ensuring the consent of Greece.

It is obvious that newly elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has decided not only to formulate a
different paradigm in dealing with the major issues that Greece suffers from, but also to accept an alteration of Greece’s foreign affairs dogma.