Political decisions afoot
Prospect of confidence vote, snap polls unclear amid rumors of Parliament closing
The prospects of an imminent vote of confidence in the government and of snap elections in September appeared to be played down yesterday by sources close to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who indicated that the priority is to honor commitments to creditors.
Government sources had indicated after last Friday’s parliamentary vote on the new bailout that Tsipras would seek a vote of confidence once the country had paid off a 3.2-billion-euro debt to the European Central Bank on August 20. But yesterday the tone seemed to change, prompting broad speculation that a confidence vote might no longer be on the cards and that early elections will more likely be held in late October or November following a first review of the new program and when the prospect of debt relief is likely to be more tangible.
Sources close to Tsipras indicated yesterday that no final decisions will be taken before Friday. However, speculation swirled that authorities were planning to close Parliament’s plenary in the coming days and begin reduced summer sessions to legislate a series of prior actions demanded by Greece’s creditors. The move would allow Tsipras to limit the influence of rebels in his leftist SYRIZA party, as he can control the appointment of the 100 members of the summer sessions. It would push back snap elections, which the country’s creditors clearly do not want, fearing that the new program will not be implemented. Such a tactic would also certainly prompt a vehement response from SYRIZA’s radical Left Platform, and from outspoken Parliament Speaker Zoe Constantopoulou.
But it would likely please creditors. Although representatives of the lenders have made no public statements opposing snap polls in Greece, they have made it clear that they don’t want the government to delay implementation of the measures it has promised.
Some advisers to Tsipras, including State Minister Alekos Flambouraris, still favor the path of a confidence vote and snap polls. Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili indicated however that Tsipras is buying time, telling Athina 9.84 FM that “in the next 10 days decisions must be taken and a road map must be on the table.”