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Tsipras’ next battle: Government majority and rebels in his own party

After having survived the brutal Euro Summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is facing another cruel battle today: to secure a government majority in the Parliament. With some 30-32 lawmakers of his own party openly denouncing the Brussels agreement, Tsipras most possibly will see today that the seats of SYRIZA will decrease from 149 to 119.

Although the party statute dictates that SYRIZA MPs will have to return their seat to the party if they resign, Lafazanis’ Left Platform let the PM know on Monday, that they do not intend to return their seats but to form their own party and stay in the Parliament.

In a joint statement the Left Platform described the Brussels agreement as “the worst deal possible one that maintains the country’s status: a debt colony under a German-lead European Union.”

The Left Platform has two ministers in Tsipras’ cabinet: Energy Minister Lafazanis, and Alternate Minister Stratoulis (Social Funds). Last Saturday they did not back the government and voted “Present”.

Alternate Ministers Chountis (Foreign Affairs) and Isychos (Defense) voted “YES, but…”

As the Prime Minister has committed to the creditors to pass six legislation bills between 15th and 20th of July, he has to clean house as soon as possible and thus  today. First of all to reshuffle the government – even if Lafazanis said on Monday that he would not leave the government.

One SYRIZA MP had declared on Monday that he will resign and return his seat to the party.

Parliament Speaker Zoi Konstantopoulou is under fire by some government lawmakers and the Pro-EU opposition parties as she did not back the gvoernment of last Saturday’s voting. The opposition called her to resign, it wants to bring a vote of non-confidence against her. Konstantopoulou made it clear on Monday, that she does not intend to resign. The SYRIZA MP constitutes an institutional problem for the  party and the Parliament.

The first austerity bill is to be submitted to the Parliament committee today and be voted in the Parliament tomorrow Wednesday. PM Tsipras cannot see the bill to be backed by the opposition parties but not his own lawmakers as it happened last Saturday, when the Parliament voted to authorize the government to reach an agreement with creditors on another “rescue” package.

Another problem for the Prime Minister is the stance of his junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL). Party leader and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos stated Thursday morning after a meeting of ANEL’s parliamentary group:

“A coup d’ Etat happened in Brussels  and now it continues in Greece. They want to bring down the government and replace it with a national unity one. The coalition will not change.

We support the government and Independent Greeks will vote only for what was agreed at council of political leaders.”

If the Left Platform withdraws or is being ‘withdrawn’, the coalition will immediately fall into the status of “minority government” – and if I am not wrong, it will need to withstand a new vote of confidence. With +/- 30 MPs less, Tsipras will be obliged to broaden the coalition government with more parties in order to secure his position in the Parliament. Absolute majority is 151:300. However, the government cannot pass the tough austerity measures with the majority given by the opposition only. It will have a major “political authorization” problem.

Distribution of seats in Parliament is as of  12:25 pm Thursday:

Government: SYRIZA 149 + ANEL 13 = 162

Opposition Pro-EU: ND 76 To Potami 17 PASOK 13

Opposition anti-EU: Golden Dawn 17, KKE 13

If 30 Syriza MPs resign a coalition with To Potami and PASOK seems a one-way street. ANEL Kammenos has repeatedly said that he would not accept coalition with New Democracy.

Then the EU orchestrated political coup d’ Etat in Greece will have been concluded: from the very first week SYRIZA-ANEL government took office, European Parliament President Martin Schulz had been openly and shamelessly insisting that he wanted to push EU-friendly To Potami in the Greek government.

German “Social-Democrat” SPD abandoned support to PASOK, when the party that had ruled Greece for almost three decades after 1974 sank to rates below 5%.

SYRIZA’s Parliament group is to convene at 5 pm today, the initiatives to replace Lafazanis and Stratoulis are expected to be taken by the Prime minister.

As common practice by the SYRIZA government, we may see crucial political developments taking place again in the middle of the night…

PS I don’t hold my breath today. I have held my breath much too many times since 2010. My lungs have had enough exercise.

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13 comments

  1. What’s even the point to stay in power after this?

  2. Laurette LaLiberte

    I begin to wonder if Schauble’s minions have Tripras’ wife and children tied up in a dungeon somewhere.

  3. Even if you want a Grexit or IOU, you need to save the banks and the financial system. So, then the 50 billion deal is still required.

    I get the impression that the Greek don’t fully understand how bad their situation is, if this is still a point of discussion.

    First fix the most urgent issue (the bank, the financial system), and then start talking about other things.

  4. At last the government is making difficult choices , and not waiting and hesitating. That’s the life.
    All in all, even in Bloomberg one Greek said “Syriza gambled, and they lost”. I think that is the point – lost gamble, or lost game of chicken. And maybe it is good that they decided to blink in the last moment.
    I would add : everybody makes mistakes. This mistake was very expensive for Greeks.
    I think it was too late even for Grexit. Sorry, I cannot imagine printing drachmas or IOUs with closed banks.
    I wonder who will win the elections – I suppose new elections can be soon.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      come on, the chicken farm song is over, now it’s the Trust song

      • Giaourti Giaourtaki

        They not even know what a chicken game is, or did have made it any sense at all for James Dean to indicate direction?

  5. Whatever one thinks, it was a fascinating spectacle, a completely fascinating gamble. But it was better to observe it from outside Greece, than from inside, of course.
    Thank you , Syriza, for an amazing spectacle.

  6. “Then the EU orchestrated political coup d’ Etat in Greece will have been concluded”

    This is only possible because Tsipras is being a willing collaborator and implementing the “coup” on the ground instead of resisting.
    The Left and Patriotic forces in Greece have only one option oppose this deal, oppose the plunder, fight against it with all means and force they have.
    Even if they cannot block this barbaric memorandum now, they will at least create the bases for the resistance that does not fall in the neo-nazis hands.

    As for Tsipras he was not only pushed to the grave, he jumped to it!

  7. René Henri Pasche

    will the Greek MPs get extra money for their never ending night sessions and supplementary working hours ? As long as the lawmakers business continues to be the only way to make big money for doing nothing in Greece there will always be a consensus whatever the problem under discussion. Everybody will do what is necessary to keep the seat.