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Hellenic Republic Ministry of National Defence

INTERVIEW OF THE ALTERNATE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE ON THE 1st PROGRAMME OF “ERT” RADIO STATION AND TO THE JOURNALISTS, THANOS SIAFAKAS AND GIORGOS NEROUTSOS

The Alternate Minister of National Defence, Panagiotis Rigas, in an interview he gave on Thursday, 14 February 2019, on the 1st Programme of ERT radio station and to the journalists, Thanos Siafakas and Giorgos Neroutsos, stated amongst others the following:

Regarding the election of the President of the Republic and New Democracy’s stance:

I believe that as long as New Democracy does not reply to the question whether it will support the re-election of Mr. Pavlopoulos, the view that there is a plan for the following day is reinforced; this is a plan of course that is not going to work, because they will not be able to do anything with 90 members. Any agreement, what has been agreed with Mr. Venizelos and possibly with Mr. Samaras is not merely limited to persons, but is also targeted at a post-election cooperation that the verdict of the people though is unlikely to allow to occur. Mr. Mitsotakis is being pushed around by various political personalities or political and economic interests, in order to be able to continue to serve Mr. Samaras’ political strategy and the far-right belief within the New Democracy.

Regarding the amendment of article 32 of the Constitution:

In our opinion, the elections should break free of the election for the President of the Republic. This being so, we have a different proposal as to the manner in which the President of the Republic should be elected. New Democracy will not be the government in the following period and we will move forward with our proposal. Unfortunately, the opposition’s attitude in the discussion on the reform of the Constitution demeans such a leading process to a large extent. It belongs to the same strategy on the fall or change of the government. It attempts to constitutionalise the neoliberalism. When it talks about deficits, when it treats labour and social rights as a counterweight to social benefits and social commitments that should be guaranteed by the Constitution, then you realise that we are two different worlds. It attempts to constitutionalise extreme things that are against the society, unlike the entire proposal on the reform of the Constitution for our part that is deeply rooted in democracy and mainly supports social rights, either welfare or labour issues.

Regarding the meeting between the Ministers of Defence of Greece and Turkey:

When tensions are high, when there is an increased rhetoric and practice, and given that the problems are real, it is inappropriate not to have channels promoting discussions in the diplomatic field. This may contribute to the better apprehension of the situation. In this manner of operation, the country managed to remain a pillar of stability throughout the period of crisis and assisted with the de-escalation of tensions in other countries too. Therefore, the meeting between Messrs. Apostolakis and Akar was held in this context.

Regarding Turkey’s provocativeness:

Our Country and our Armed Forces may and will defend our country’s integrity at all times. We are a deterrent, peaceful force. Our neighbouring country often turns up the heat, while we are dealing with the issue in a specific manner that judging by the consequences, it results that this manner contributes to peacekeeping.