Independent Greeks (ANEL) MP George Lazaridis announced his departure from the party in a letter to the House speaker, citing his disagreement to the deal signed between Greece and FYROM on the name dispute.
His resignation brings the parliamentary majority of the coalition government to a precarious 152, two seats shy of the absolute majority.
The parliamentarian, who is the second to abandon the junior coalition government partner for the same reason after Dimitris Kammenos, was elected in the 2nd district of Thessaloniki in Macedonia, where the anti-government sentiment has risen substantially after the agreement with FYROM. In his letter of resignation, Mr Lazarides reminds his party leader and Defence Minister Panos Kammenos that of one of the key declaration principles on which the Independent Greeks were founded upon was the refusal to concede the term Macedonia to Skopje.
In an effort to avoid completely decrying his party leadership, the MP claims the reason for his departure was not the signing of the agreement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias but the refusal of the government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos to accept ANEL’s proposal for ratification of the disputed agreement in Parliament with an increased majority of 180 House representatives.
The party of the Independent Greeks issued a statement calling him an “apostate” and demanding he hand over his seat to another politician.