Independent Greeks

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The Independent Greeks (Greek: Ανεξάρτητοι Έλληνες, Anexartitoi Ellines, ANEL) is a conservative, [10] national-conservative, and right-wing populist [5] [6] political party in Greece. The party won 10 seats in the September 2015 parliamentary election and agreed to renew its coalition government with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). [11]

History

The party was created on 24 February 2012 by Panos Kammenos, a former Member of Parliament (MP) for the conservative party New Democracy (ND). [12] Kammenos had been expelled from the New Democracy parliamentary group after voting against Lucas Papademos' coalition government in a vote of confidence. The party's founding declaration was issued on 11 March 2012. [13] Ten former ND deputies were founding members of the party, namely Elena Kountoura, Christos Zois, Kostas Markopoulos, Dimitrios G. Stamatis, Spyros Galinos, Mika Iatridi, Maria Kollia-Tsaroucha, Panagiotis Melas and Michalis Giannakis [14]

On 17 April 2012, the small left-wing anti-bailout party Panhellenic Citizen Chariot reached an election cooperation agreement with the Independent Greeks. [15]

Prior to the May 2012 legislative election, the party had 11 MPs: 10 defectors from New Democracy and one from Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).

The party gained 10.6% of the vote and 33 MPs in the parliamentary election in May 2012. [16] In the snap June 2012 legislative election, ANEL received 7.5% of the vote, which reduced the party's representation to 20 MPs. [16]

In the 2014 European Parliament election held on 25 May 2014, ANEL received 3.5% of the vote, electing a single MEP who sits with the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group. The MEP, Notis Marias, left ANEL, however, and is now an independent member of the ECR group.

In the January 2015 legislative election held on 25 January 2015, ANEL received 4.75% of the vote and returned 13 MPs to the Hellenic Parliament. [17] On 26 January 2015, ANEL agreed to form a governing coalition with the Coalition of the Radical Left. [18]

The second election of the year, the September 2015 legislative election on 20 September 2015, returned ANEL to parliament with 10 seats from 3.69% of the vote. [19] Syriza again agreed to form a coalition government with ANEL. [20]

Policies

Economically, the party calls for revoking the first and second memorandums, loan agreements between Greece, the EU and the International Monetary Fund. [5] [6] [12] Further, it considers the agreements illegal and calls for lifting immunity from and then investigating and prosecuting Greek ministers, parliamentarians, and officials who negotiated the agreements or who otherwise bear blame for Greece's economic crisis. [5] [6] [12]

In opposing the memorandums negotiated with 'The Troika', party leader Kammenos said Greece had become a "laboratory animal" in an austerity experiment conducted by the IMF and EU, who "used the public debt as a means of control." Kammenos has focused much of his fire on Germany, stating that "Germany is not treating Greece as a partner but as its master. … It tries to turn a Europe of independent states into a Europe dominated by Germany." [21]

The party's official program states it will repudiate part of Greece's debt because it was created by speculators in a conspiracy to bring Greece to the edge of bankruptcy. [21] It announced in December 2012 that it would start working to create a patriotic Democratic Front, whose aim is to save "Greece from the neo-liberal avalanche." [22]

The party also calls for German war reparations (for the invasion and occupation of Greece in the Second World War). [13]

On social policy, Independent Greeks oppose multiculturalism and want to reduce immigration, [23] [24] and support development of a Christian Orthodox oriented education system. [25]

According to The Independent, the party took right away "a socially right-wing stance, supporting patriotism and the role of the Greek Orthodox church in family life and education". [26]

Election results

Hellenic Parliament

Election Hellenic Parliament Rank Government Leader
Votes % ± pp Seats won +/−
05/2012 670,957 10.6% New
33 / 300
Increase 33 #4 Opposition Panos Kammenos
06/2012 462,406 7.5% Decrease 3.1
20 / 300
Decrease 13 #4 Opposition Panos Kammenos
01/2015 293,683 4.8% Decrease 2.7
13 / 300
Decrease 7 #6 Coalition gov't SYRIZA -ANEL Panos Kammenos
09/2015 200,423 3.7% Decrease 1.1
10 / 300
Decrease 3 #7 Coalition gov't SYRIZA -ANEL Panos Kammenos

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election Votes % ± pp Seats won +/− Rank Leader
2014 197,701 3.5% New
1 / 21
Increase 1 #7 Panos Kammenos

Members of Parliament

As of 22 April 2016 the Independent Greeks have nine MPs in the Hellenic Parliament:

Name Constituency
Dimitrios Kammenos Piraeus B
Panagiotis (Panos) Kammenos Athens B
Kostas Katsikis Attica
Vassilios Kokkalis Larissa
Maria Kollia-Tsaroucha Serres
Elena Koundoura Athens A
Georgios Lazaridis Thessaloniki B
Athanasios Papachristopoulos Athens B
Konstantinos Zouraris Thessaloniki A

On 19 November 2015 Nikolaos Nikolopoulos had been expelled from the Parliamentary Group of Independent Greeks. [27]

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