Ten­sion rises ahead of key vote

Premier faces pres­sure at home and abroad as MPs brace for bal­lot on third bailout and elec­tions loom

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Faced with op­po­si­tion to a new Greek bailout at home and abroad, Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras yesterday ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the deal would gain ap­proval in what prom­ises to be a tough vote in Greece’s Par­lia­ment in the com­ing hours.

“De­spite the ob­sta­cles that some are try­ing to put be­fore us, I’m op­ti­mistic we will reach the agree­ment and loan sup­port from the Euro­pean mech­a­nism, which will put a fi­nal end to eco­nomic un­cer­tainty,” Tsipras said dur­ing a visit to the Econ­omy Min­istry, re­fer­ring to a multi-bil­lion-euro loan pro­gram that Greece and its cred­i­tors agreed to ear­lier this week. The agree­ment was reached de­spite strong skep­ti­cism in Ger­many and other eu­ro­zone states. “Some want to use Greece as a pre­text to re­order the eu­ro­zone,” Tsipras said. “We will prove wrong those who doubt us and we will man­age to re­build the coun­try.”

In Ber­lin, the gov­ern­ment cau­tiously wel­comed the deal, even af­ter Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel is said to have made quite clear to Tsipras Ger­many’s pref­er­ence for a bridge loan. Merkel’s spokesman St­ef­fen Seib­ert said the deal “goes in the right di­rec­tion” but that it was “not yet pos­si­ble to say” whether it was ready for a vote in the Bun­destag.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, Tsipras’s of­fice said that Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Pres­i­dent Martin Schulz told the Greek leader he would “pub­licly call” on the Ger­man gov­ern­ment and Par­lia­ment to ap­prove the deal.

Be­fore the deal goes to the Bun­destag it must pass through Greece’s Par­lia­ment in a vote ex­pected early to­mor­row morn­ing. With op­po­si­tion party sup­port, the bill is all but cer­tain to pass. But if the num­ber of SYRIZA MPs who break ranks with the gov­ern­ment is larger than the last vote in Par- lia­ment, Tsipras may call snap elec­tions for Septem­ber. This is a prospect he dis­cussed with French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande, Kathimerini un­der­stands.

There was spec­u­la­tion yesterday that SYRIZA’s rad­i­cal Left Plat­form will very soon an­nounce that it is form­ing a new party. SYRIZA MP and for­mer min­is­ter Costas Isi­chos said the vote would lead to an “im­me­di­ate di­vorce.” He added that “we are fac­ing ma­jor po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments where the ‘no’ front will take shape,” re­fer­ring to the out­come of last month’s ref­er­en­dum on aus­ter­ity.

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