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Tough Times for PASOK and Venizelos as MPs Rebel Against Austerity Measures

Coalition government party PASOK suffered serious injuries on Wednesday during the voting for the privatizations bill. Party leader Evangelos Venizelos saw some 15 MPs revolting against the party line. In fact he saw the rebellion happening from a distance, as he himself did not bother to attend a voting that was a crash test for the Greek coalition government.

Venizelos called his MPs in an extraordinary meeting in the evening and threatened to expel from the party those thinking they can behave following their own ways.

The result of the ‘stormy party meeting’ – as described by Greek media?

One MP (Kassis) left PASOK and chose to be ‘independent deputy’

A former deputy minister and party official (Xenogiannakopoulou) resigned from the party on Thusrday morning.

A former minister (Batzeli) raised issues of leadership.

Five more MPs – among them prominent party official Skandalidis – declare that they would most likely down vote the austerity package.

Socialist PASOK that governed the country for more than two decades, has suffered big political losses after it took the country to IMF in May 2010.  In public opinion surveys it holds fourth or fifth position.


At the same time, economic prosecutors Peponis and Mouzakis sent the file of the Lagarde-List to the Parliament asking the relevant committee to investigate the responsibilities of former PASOK finance ministers George Papaconstantinou and Evangelos Venizelos. The prosecutors do not explicitly mention the names of the two ministers but they ‘describe’ them and have quotes from both ministers on how they handled the list.

The two former ministers had kept the infamous list without taking any meaningful action and investigate whether the some 2,000 names on the list were involved in tax evasion.

Anothe point made by Peponis and Mouzakis is how comes that it was said officially that the list was containing 1,991 names, while the list published by journalist Kostas Vaxevanis had 2,051 names of account holders.

Papaconstantinou and Venizelos are protected by the law about ministers’ responsibility. But this protection can be lifted through a parliament voting.

Coalition Government

Depending on the outcome of the rebellion within PASOK, Prime Minister Samaras may have difficulties to pass the austerity package and the budget 2013 through the Parliament.

Samaras holds 127 seats in the parliament and Venizelos 32. Junior partner Democratic Left has 17 seats, but it insists it will not vote for the labour rights ‘reforms’.

Austerity package and budget 2013 need a simple majority of 151 votes to pass. However on Wednesday, the privatizations bill passed by the “simple majority of the present deputies”. The three leaders of coalition governement did not participate in the voting.

Can you imagine that bills, crucial for the future of a nation, pass with 146.5 votes in a Parliament of 300 seats?



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  1. Curious: what would the reason be that Venizelos did not show up for the voting of the privatization bill? Is he connected to persons that lead the companies that have to be privatized and he does not want to loose his face by voting against his “friends/family”?
    I’m actually just wondering….

    • keeptalkinggreece

      I think I’ve read somewhere Venizelos did not want to be present wheen his MPs would vote against the bill.s The problem is that PASOK support want to be part of government preferably without voting for measures = socialists in black out lol