Many people are unhappy with Syriza having formed a coalition government with the right-wing, nationalist party Independent Greeks (ANEL). They are staunchly anti-immigration and have been criticised for their racist and xenophobic comments and attitudes.
I understand the difficult position Syriza were in and that they needed to get together with a minority party to form a majority government but I wish it didn’t have to be ANEL and their uncharismatic leader Kammenos who famously stated that “Jews don’t pay taxes”.
It looks as if the citizenship bill that will give citizenship to children of immigrants born or educated (for nine years) in Greece, will be re-instated despite objections from ANEL. It was previously cancelled by New Democracy. It is an important legislation that will allow second-generation immigrants to enjoy the same rights as their Greek classmates as citizens of this country.
Rift appears in coalition over citizenship bill
ANEL leader says his MPs have right to vote according to their conscience
In the first sign of a disagreement within the new SYRIZA-led government, the leader of junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL), Panos Kammenos, indicated that the party’s 13 MPs would not back a bill granting citizenship to the children of immigrants living in Greece.
Noting that ANEL MPs “are not sheep,” Kammenos said they would vote according to their conscience… as the Constitution dictates.” Meanwhile SYRIZA officials played down the split, indicating that a coalition does not presuppose absolute agreement on everything but respect for democracy. They suggested that the bill was likely to get the backing of opposition MPs. In the countdown to elections, SYRIZA’s Tasia Christodoulopoulou, who is now alternate immigration policy minister, had said all children of immigrants would get citizenship under a SYRIZA government.
A law passed in 2010 which offers citizenship to the children of second-generation immigrants was deemed to partially violate the Constitution by the Council of State. The next government drafted a new law, granting citizenship to the children of immigrants who have completed nine years of studies at a Greek school, completed Greek secondary school education or graduated from a Greek university. The bill did not get to Parliament. Speaking to Kathimerini, the outgoing general secretary of the Interior Ministry, Angelos Syrigos, said he believed the bill would get 250 votes in the 300-seat House.