Greek PM calls con­fi­dence vote af­ter ally quits coali­tion

Iran Daily - - International -

Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras on Sun­day said he would call a con­fi­dence vote in his gov­ern­ment af­ter his coali­tion ally quit, leav­ing him bereft of a par­lia­men­tary ma­jor­ity and rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of snap elec­tions.

Ear­lier, Greece’s rightwing de­fense min­is­ter re­signed in protest at a deal end­ing a long run­ning dis­pute with Mace­do­nia over its name, say­ing he was tak­ing his other six min­is­ters in cabi­net with him, Reuters re­ported.

Panos Kam­menos’s In­de­pen­dent Greeks party had seven MPS, enough to get Tsipras’s ad­min­is­tra­tion past the thresh­old of 150 deputies in the 300-mem­ber par­lia­ment. Tsipras’s Syriza party has 145 seats and also the sup­port of one in­de­pen­dent law­maker.

“I have taken my de­ci­sion and have in­formed the pres­i­dent of par­lia­ment that we will im­me­di­ately move to the process out­lined by the con­sti­tu­tion for the re­newal of the con­fi­dence in my gov­ern­ment,” Tsipras told jour­nal­ists.

The con­fi­dence vote is ex­pected to take place later this week. Kam­menos said he would not sup­port Tsipras in the vote.

Syriza is trail­ing be­tween eight and 12 points be­hind the main con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy party, which also op­posed the deal with Mace­do­nia, in pre­elec­tion polls.

A fire­brand left­ist, Tsipras was elected in 2015 on a plat­form of an­ti­aus­ter­ity but was forced into a third in­ter­na­tional bailout to bring back Greece from the brink of bank­ruptcy. The coun­try ex­ited a bailout pro­gram in mid-2018.

Kam­menos, who forged a coali­tion pact with Tsipras in 2015, never con­cealed his hos­til­ity to the deal with Skopje, which re­names the tiny Balkan coun­try Repub­lic of North Mace­do­nia.

Greece has a prov­ince called Mace­do­nia and long de­manded Skopje change its coun­try name to re­move what Athens con­sid­ered to be an im­plied claim to Greek sov­er­eign ter­ri­tory. Mace­do­nia’s as­pi­ra­tions to Euro­pean Union and NATO ties had been blocked by Greece over the name dis­pute.

Kam­menos said that any deal in­clud­ing “Mace­do­nia” in the name of the Balkan state to Greece’s north was un­ac­cept­able as the name was ir­re­vo­ca­bly tied to Greek civ­i­liza­tion and cul­ture.

He called the ac­cord a na­tional sell­out and had re­peat­edly threat­ened to leave if it came be­fore the Greek par­lia­ment for rat­i­fi­ca­tion – ex­pected later this month.

The gov­ern­ment hopes, how­ever, that the pact will still pass with the sup­port of cen­ter-left and in­de­pen­dent law­mak­ers.

Mace­do­nia’s par­lia­ment rat­i­fied the deal by pass­ing an amend­ment to the con­sti­tu­tion on Fri­day.

The two coun­tries struck the deal on the new name in June last year, but Mace­do­nia will start us­ing it only af­ter the par­lia­ment in Athens also ap­proves the change.


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