Gov­ern­ment braces for cru­cial votes

So­cial­ist MPs seem to close ranks be­hind premier and Cabi­net with a view to poll on midterm plan

Kathimerini English - - NEWS -

Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou and his new Cabi­net were widely ex­pected late last night to se­cure a vote of con­fi­dence that would also buoy the rul­ing So­cial­ists ahead of a vote next Tues­day on a new raft of aus­ter­ity mea­sures and ease the con­cerns of the coun­try’s for­eign cred­i­tors.

Pa­pan­dreou, who is to­mor­row to travel again to Brus­sels fol­low­ing a sched­uled session of his new Cabi­net to­day, ap­peared to have suc­ceeded in in­still­ing some dis­ci­pline in his party with last week’s reshuf­fle.

Fol­low­ing a week of po­lit­i­cal tur­moil that saw two So­cial­ist party MPs, Gior­gos Floridis and Ek­toras Na­siokas, give up their seats in Par­lia­ment, PASOK deputies ap­par­ently closed ranks yes­ter­day with none sug­gest­ing that they would with­hold their vote of con­fi­dence. Still some skep­tics in­di­cated that their back­ing was not un­con­di­tional. Panayi­o­tis Kourou­b­lis, who has in­di­cated in re­cent weeks that he might vote against the gov­ern­ment’s midterm pro­gram, told Par­lia­ment, “I will vote for the gov­ern­ment tonight but that does not mean I’m giv­ing it carte blanche.”

One de­vel­op­ment that caused a stir last night was a de­ci­sion by An­dreas Makry­pidis – a So­cial­ist MP who had been given the task of sub­mit­ting the gov­ern­ment’s midterm pro­gram in Par­lia­ment – to step aside. Makry­pidis cited “per­sonal rea­sons” though sources said he was an­gered at not be­ing el­e­vated to a min­istry po­si­tion in the re­cent cabi­net reshuf­fle.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the Coun­cil of State deemed that the mem­o­ran­dum – Greece’s agree­ment with its cred­i­tors to im­ple­ment re­forms in ex­change for emer­gency fund­ing – was con­sti­tu­tional. The court threw out ap­peals by the Athens Bar As­so­ci­a­tion, the civil ser­vants’ union ADEDY and GSEE, which rep­re­sents work­ers in the pri­vate sec­tor.

Also yes­ter­day, the Al­liance of Lib­er­als and Democrats for Europe – known as the ALDE group – adopted a pro­posal for an al­ter­na­tive to the Greek gov­ern­ment’s aus­ter­ity pro­gram made by for­mer For­eign Min­is­ter Dora Bakoy­an­nis, who leads the cen­trist Demo­cratic Al­liance party. Bakoy­an­nis’s pro­posal does not fo­cus on pub­lic sec­tor spend­ing cuts and tax in­creases but fore­sees the cre­ation of a na­tional in­vest­ment fund that would be partly fi­nanced by rev­enue from the pri­va­ti­za­tion of state as­sets.

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