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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

Alternate Defence Minister Panagiotis Rigas' interview to the newspaper  "TA NEA"

On Saturday, 08 December 2018, the Alternate Minister of National Defence Panagiotis Rigas gave an interview to the newspaper “TA NEA” and to the journalist Aris Ravanos, where he stated the following:

1. Novartis, HCDCP, C4I, etc. Are these considered scandals or rather an extermination plan by political opponents, as ND and KINAL Parties charge you with?

The specific approach of ND and KINAL Parties, implying that the corruption’s eradication and the allocation of political and penal liabilities constitute an “extermination plan of political opponents” includes evidence of guilt and political cover-up, regarding the events that took place in the previous years and which contributed decisively in the derailing of the country and the enforcement of the memoranda. So, we invite them to state loud and clear that there must be impunity regarding the actions of politicians, unless they think that nothing went wrong, i.e. the squandering of public money, the enrichment of politicians and the corruption in public life in general.

2. We stand before a “clean hands” operation; what are your aspirations as a government?

This government, that pulled the country out of the memoranda, is not only responsible, but obliged as well, to throw light on all the dark sides of the public life. If it failed to do so, then it could be accused of cover-up and political transaction. Therefore, it would be wise not to push situations with regard to interpretation, with the goal of avoiding any political and possibly penal control, regarding actions and facts that took place during the tenure of ND and PASOK Parties, which harmed national interests and left unresolved issues.

3. Are you worried about the penalization of the country’s political life?

I am mostly worried about the limitless use of the term “penalization”, in relation to political life. It sounds like the preventive mine-laying of an area, in order to keep justice and control away. We will not allow this to happen. It is finally the time for some people to stop identifying total movements and parties – which contributed to the country one way or another – with pathological phenomena displayed from time to time.

4. There is also the fear regarding a general scandals attitude, that apolitical tendencies will be reinforced, and that politics and politicians will be disdained. Does this make you speculate?

The corruption of part of the political personnel and the scandals are two factors that reinforce the disdain of politics. This is an extremely severe and multi-faceted problem and should not be oversimplified or used for petty politics. The democratic, political arc should immediately search for ways to reinforce the citizens’ interest for politics, on one hand, and on the other hand, to armour the society, with regard to the plague of politics’ disdain, which breeds fascist ideas and respective political groups.

5. Do you see restructuring of the political arena on the occasion of the Macedonia-naming dispute?

Having the national interests as a rule, we made a specific choice, without worrying about the political cost. The country’s progressive powers are invited not to waste a historical opportunity and to prove that they really want to create good neighbouring conditions and economic growth in the area.

6. Can SYRIZA and KINAL get along regarding programs’ convergence and post-elections cooperation?

KINAL’s leadership has abandoned the basic principles of the social-democrats, acceding to neo-liberals with fanaticism and choosing SYRIZA as its strategic opponent. They try in vain, but this is not SYRIZA’s problem. Regarding us, we steadily believe on convergences that benefit the aim of a progressive governing, on a basis of a program that serves the country’s and the society’s needs.

7. Regarding self-government elections, is there a cooperation field?

By its very nature, self-government is a preferential cooperation field. This cooperation is imposed in many cases from lower levels, while at the same time, they appear as necessity, based on the role and contribution of specific persons locally speaking. Regarding this cooperation, the catalyst is the establishment of a single proportional representation, with regard to municipalities and districts.

8. Has SYRIZA moved to the central-left? Can anyone place SYRIZA among the European social-democrats or it belongs to the Left Party?

The Left Party in its historical course occupies a big space, therefore SYRIZA does not need any other definition. We remain steady in our principles and values, observing the developments worldwide.

9. Is there a possibility of triple elections in May, regional, European and Parliamentary, or sooner?

Everyone can come up with a scenario, but the elections will take place at the end of the four-year term.

10. Can the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair announcements, currently under enactment, change the opinion about the government?

The Prime Minister’s announcements from the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, already under implementation, are not pre-electoral announcements or provision of services. They constitute only the first part of our post-memoranda policy, of the implementation of our program. Be certain that when the elections will come, the people will stand before specific dilemmas and they will make the right choice.

11. What is the limit regarding district elections in relation to SYRIZA?

Regarding self-governmental elections, the important thing is not a numerical limit, but the achievement of political goals, like the appointment of progressive municipal and district authorities, that will work for the productive reconstruction of the country and the resolution of social problems.

12. Where is the limit regarding the Turkish provocativeness?

The Turkish provocativeness is steadily displayed in a framework of questioning our country’s sovereign rights. Equally steady and ever-lasting is our response, which leaves no room for this questioning to produce accomplished facts. So, the limit is set by the responsible Greek attitude and our Armed Forces’ deterrent power.

13. Is it possible that a hot incident will occur with Turkey?

The observance of the International Law and of the International Treaties constitutes an stable term for Greece, regarding good neighbourly relations. What I am certain of is that a hot incident will not benefit either side. I believe the Turkish leadership supports this estimation as well.