You can call it what you want. A Farce. A Drama. A Tragicomedy. Political Acrobats. Theater of the Absurd. A Crazy-House. A Poker game. A Kindergarten. The political pandemonium that took part yesterday in Greece was beyond any of logic. It stunned foreigners and Greeks alike. The national humiliation in Cannes, the referendum-‘card’ that backfired and froze the 6th aid trance, triggered an outrage and loud voices were asking George Papandreouto resign and early elections. Greek PM delivered an unbelievable “I’ll resign”-“No, I won’t”-“Maybe I will….later”-game challenging the opposition parties, playing with the nerves of the citizens and bringing his own people at the verge of a nervous breakdown.
The scenarios of proceeding in coalition-talks with main opposition party , conservative Nea Dimokratia, came and went and the political kitchen boiled with rumors.
While – under the immense pressure – Papandreou agreed at the cabinet meeting to resign and to immediately start talks for a ‘national unity government’ with snap elections in the near future, he revealed at the meeting of PASOK’s parliamentary group just a ‘road map’ with the elections horizon near March 2012.
Government ministers rebelled. Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou asked explanations for the change of the agreements.
Former minister Vaso Papandreou told PM “You’re out of place and time”.
Papandreou cut the dialogue and rushed to confidence-vote debate, while PASOK deputies got more than furious. Papandreou’s cadres assumed command to clean the mess. His deputies got out of control.
A Papandreou-supporter went so far to describe a Venizelos-supporter, who had said she wouldn’t give confidence vote as a “Stocking suspender”!
At the end of the very long and exhausting day, Papandreou revealed that he will start talks for a broader government and he will resign under the condition that he will get the confidence vote.
If that’s not a parody of the procedure, then we should define the word ‘parody’ anew.
This morning, hardly a PASOK deputy openly declares how he /she will vote tonight. The dilemma is big, the confidence to a PM that says A in the morning, B at noon and C at night is intriguing even the coolest heads. A crash test for a politician who has lost a great part of his credibility.
Currently three groups have formed inside Greece’s governing party: 1) Papandreou-supporters (the majority) 2)Venizelos-supporters 3) ETC-supporters. Yesterday, it looked as if Papandreou’s power within the party was at 146 ‘votes’/seats after some deputies had openly declared, they won’t give him their votes. Papandreou needs 151 votes to win the vote of confidence – or better say: the majority that would come of the the number of the present deputies of all parties.
The majority of PASOK deputies signal that they will decide after PM’s speech tonight, before the vote. There is no doubt that no other political party will gove a vote of confidence. Elsa Papadimitriou, an indepentant MP who usually supports PASOK, said this morning, she would wait for Papandreou’s speech.
It looks as if Papandreou wants to remain in power of PASOK, even if he gives up the PM’schair. After all, it was his father who established the party… After all, can the offspring of a political family with father and grandfather successful prime ministers to withdraw in disgrace?
At the same time, PASOK’s aspiring chairmensharpen their swords and prepare their next moves behind closed doors. They seem to have faith in party deputies to topple Papandreou. Papandreou’s challenger in party leadership in 2004, FinMin Venizelos officially supports Papandreou knowing very well that the countrdown has started. The “Greek Tetrapack” -group consisting of four ministers will be the other challengers to chairmanship.
Main opposition party, conservative Nea Dimokratia believes, it will be the next ruling party over Greece. ND-leader Samaras repeats, he want a national unity government as transition government and snap polls.
Far-right LAOS-chairman called Samaras & Papandreou “The Boston-Boys” as they both studied in Boston and even shared a room during their studies.
Should the government fail to win the confidence vote, it will have to resign. Then the President will have to ask the next strong parliament group, i.e. Nea Dimokratia, to form a government or declare early elections.
Should the government win the confidence vote and Papandreou resigns, PASOK parliamentary group can propose to the President a person for the PM’s chair, even from outside the parliament.
Yesterday’s political pandemonium (or #papandemonium as a Twitter hashtag indicates) had the masks fallen, among others. Antonis Samaras from conservative Nea Dimokratia mutated from a fierce opponent of the loan-agreement to a … supporter.
And that our politicians are really screwed on their chairs. That their own interests are above the people’s will. What Greeks want? Early elections and less austerity.
The confidence vote will take part at midnight.
PS Alexis Tsipras, chairman of left-wing SYRIZA said last night at the Parliament “Not even Monty Pythons could have imagined such a scenario by Papandreou”. Taking into consideration PM’s bicycle hobby… here’s a cute video to start the day
Video: Bicycle Repairman
If you want to read what happened yesterday check out KTG’s 10 hours long Live Blog