Twenty five SYRIZA lawmakers mainly from Left Platform of former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis split from the party Tsipras’ party on Friday morning and formed their own independent group with the name “Popular Unity”. The anti-Memorandum party will run for the elections called on Thursday after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras submitted his resignation to the President of the Republic.
Among the prominent MPs of the Popular Unity are ex social security minister Stratoulis, Drachma-supporters Lapavistas, Leoutskos, as well as ex deputy Finance Minister Nandia Valavani.
Ex Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis does not seem willing to join the “Popular Unity”, while it is unclear what are the intentions of Parliament Speaker Zoi Konstantopoulou who have repeatedly voted against the bills of SYRIZA and the creditors.
Greek media reported this morning, that four more SYRIZA MPs were expected to join Lafazanis’ party.
With 25 MPs “Popular Unity” is now the third party in the Greek Parliament, with Golden Dawn and To Potami having only 17 MPs each.
Negotiations to form a new Greek government
While ex PM Tsipras was planning to resign and call for early elections, main opposition leader Evangelos Meimarakis from conservative New Democracy decided to spoil Tsipras’ plans and claimed the mandate from the President to seek and form a new coalition government.
If Meimarakis fail in his attempts to form a coalition, Lafazanis can theoretically claim also a mandate to form a new government. But practically, hardly any analyst believe that the so-called Drachma-Lobby would lead the next Greek government and avoid elections.
By submitting his resignation, PM Tsipras in fact returned his mandate after the January 25th elections. It is perfectly legal that the President will give now the mandate to the other two biggest parties in the Greek Parliament.
Procedure to form a government
Article 37 of the Greek constitution stipulates the procedure for attempts to form governments after a national legislative election. The Greek constitution stipulates that the largest party in relative terms of the voting result, shall be given a chance to negotiate the formation of a government within three days. Failing that, the second largest party will get a chance within the next three days and if this attempt also fails the third biggest party will get a further three days to try and form a government. If neither of the three largest parties can succeed in forming a government, the baton will be handed over to the president for a last neutral attempt to form a government, where he will meet with all party leaders. If this attempt fails as well, a temporary caretaker government will be formed with the purpose of setting up a date for a new legislative election.
If this attempt fails, then, according to article 37 paragraph 3 in the constitution of Greece, the president will try to form a temporary caretaker government with all parties for the purpose of preparing for an election. If this fails yet again the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, the President of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court or the President of the Court of Audit, will be called to form a temporary caretaker government with the widest available support in order to prepare for a new election. (source)
Anyway, the negotiations of New Democracy and possibly of Popular Unity to form a government may delay Tsipras’ plans to hold the snap elections on 13. or 20. September 2015.
If the Greece goes to elections despite the efforts to form a new government, the Popular Unity is expected to call for alliances of the Greek left, most possibly with far-left ANTARSYA and some SYRIZA components that are disappointed from the pro-austerity U-turn of Tsipras.