With a simple non-paper, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on Monday, that the “reforms on pensions and farmers’ taxation” will not be on the voting agenda of the Parliament upcoming Wednesday. The move is understood as Tsipras’ big retreat towards SYRIZA lawmakers threatening to not vote for these measures and thus risking the government majority and causing Tsipras’ resignation.
According to Greek media, these two measures could come for voting in the Palriament, early August and pass by the summer departments. The government is reportedly in close contact with creditors about the exclusion of these two measures from the voting. However, the creditors awaiting also for another painful austerity measure to pass through the Parliament, the one concerning home auctions and evictions. And here again, a big although unspecified number of SYRIZA MPs does not intend to approve it.
Some of the YES-voters say that they vote in favor of creditors’ “prior actions” because the government has no other option. Some of them hope, that once the measure start to be implemented, primary surpluses will be recorded in short term and then this money will be allocated to correct the social injustice of the measures.
Race to keep Government Majority
Should the creditors’ second set of “prior actions” pass through the Parliament for one more time without the votes of all SYRIZA MPs, the government majority would be at high risk. The second set of creditors’ “prior actions” to be voted in Parliament on upcoming Wednesday, could cause Tsipras him a second defeat within a week. Not only his own 39 lawmakers mainly from the Left Platform would vote against the “reforms” for pensions and farmers. It is been rumored that more SYRIZA MPs would down-vote these measures.
With the exception of one or two, the majority of SYRIZA “rebels” have clearly said or hinted that they wold keep their parliament seat if forced to resign from the party. Tsipras’ close aides send the message to ‘rebels’ that they cannot support the government but not vote in favor of government’s policies.
The first SYRIZA Central Committee meeting after the rebellion of the Left Platform is scheduled to take place next weekend.
With more than 39 of his own lawmakers refusing to vote in favor of austerity measures dictated by the creditors, PM Tsipras faces the challenge to lose the majority in the Parliament of 300. SYRIZA currently holds 149 seats, his junior coalition partner Independent Greeks 13, that is 162 in total. The maximum political limit for a minority government is 120 seats, 2/5 of the Parliament seats and with the tolerance and approval of the opposition. However, with less than 120 seats, Tsipras will have to resign and a national unity government -or ‘government of special purpose’ – will be formed in order to finalize the negotiations with creditors and lead the country to snap elections.
But even if Tsipras will again lead this government, he does not want to be “the Papadimos of the Left” who replaced PM George Papandreou in November 2011, after the EU partners decided to get rid of him in Cannes and directly/indirectly appointed Papadimos who finalized the second Memorandum of Understanding and implemented the PSI and lead the country to the May 2012 elections.
Also some 15-20 lawmakers from main opposition New Democracy are said to be not willing to vote for measures for “farmers’ taxation” for the simple reason that ND had had farmers top on its agenda of voters’ pool.
It is not a secret among observers of Greece’s internal politics that three opposition parties ND, PASOK and To Potami are not willing to blindly support the government beyond the final agreement with the creditors, anyway.