Given that traditional family values would normally be the preserve of Mitsotakis’ conservative New Democracy party, it does beg the question of what he’s up to, but most analysts reckon he’ll emerge not only unscathed, but even strengthened by his progressive push.
Having already shored up his hold over the right, Mitsotakis is in a position to maneuver to the liberal center and do even more damage to Greece’s devastated left, which is also profoundly divided over same-sex marriage. Bringing his country in line with 20 other European states burnishes his credentials as a key player in the EU mainstream, potentially allowing him to pursue big EU jobs after his term ends.
Mitsotakis is portraying his bill, which will also recognize the right of same-sex couples to adopt, as a purely ethical decision, “a matter of equality.” He said it was not acceptable in a democracy “to have two classes of citizens and certainly not to have children of a lesser God.”
Analysts, however, noted he was now so impregnable on the right, after a landslide victory last year, that he was free to encroach on the territory of centrists and liberals when it suited him.
“The fact that New Democracy has some officials in government that support the super conservative agenda, allows the party to adopt ad hoc fragments of this [progressive] agenda, depending on what serves its interest at any given moment,” said political analyst Panagiotis Koustenis, adding that if there is eventually some political cost in the polls, it will be limited and will be absorbed.
Greek media have speculated that Mitsotakis could also be playing to an international audience, hoping to repair the damage to his government’s reputation from a spy scandal and concerns over media freedoms.