Tsipras left to go it alone
Opposition leaders tell premier that coalition cannot depend on their support
Ahead of a confidence vote in Parliament last night, which the coalition was expected to win thanks to its five-seat majority, the main opposition parties made it clear to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that he will not be able to count on their support.
In a deeply critical speech, New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis made it clear that his party will not back the government in its implementation of measures pledged to creditors. “Go ahead on your own, you have a very good majority,” he said, referring to the coalition’s 155 seats in the 300-member House. Meimarakis accused Tsipras of undergoing a “transformation” – a reference to his shift from battling austerity to signing Greece’s third bailout. “I don’t recognize you,” he said. The ND leader also slammed Tsipras for declaring war on the country’s oligarchs but making little headway. “I say to you: Give names and addresses,” he said. As for Tsipras’s policy program, Meimarakis called it “political fraud,” noting that Tsipras had promised very different things before last month’s elections. Interrupting him at one point, Tsipras accused Meimarakis of still being in pre-election mode, a reference to plans for an ND party leadership contest. “The country needs vision and a plan,” Tsipras said. “Not preelection rhetoric.”
“Let me remind you that elections were held on September 20 and the people decided,” Tsipras said. “You lost by 7.5 points.”
In her speech to Parliament ahead of the confidence vote, PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata rebuffed Tsipras’s appeal to the opposition parties of the center-left to join the government in a “progressive front against neoliberalism,” slamming the premier for renewing a coalition with the right-wing, nationalist Independent Greeks. Accusing Tsipras of having shown zero signs of progressiveness in his policies, Gennimata lashed out at him for co-ruling with “a far-right excrescence of the political system.” Her party would offer the government “neither willing reserves nor naive accomplices,” she said.