Democratic Left ousts two MPs, reducing coalition to 164 lawmakers

Democratic Left, the junior partner in Greece’s governing coalition, has ousted two MPs after they said they would back a SYRIZA proposal to have PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos as well as ex-Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou investigated by Parliament over their handling of the Lagarde list.

The move by Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Monday leaves the coalition, which began its stint in power with 179 seats in Parliament, with just 164 MPs.

In a letter to parliamentary speaker Evangelos Meimarakis, Kouvelis said the two deputies in question, Odysseas Voudouris and Paris Moutsinas had repeatedly strayed from the party line, not just over the Lagarde list probe.

Kouvelis said DIMAR had “exhausted all possibilities” for the two lawmakers, who failed to back the recent austerity package in Parliament, to remain in the party’s parliamentary group.

“What is now clear is that the two MPs are not just expressing different views, they are backing a different political plan to Democratic Left’s,” said Kouvelis in his letter.

Earlier in the day, Voudouris and Moutsinas had come out in favor of SYRIZA’s position on the Lagarde list, which is that Venizelos should also be probed about his actions while he was finance minister.

Speaking to Skai TV, Voudouris had suggested that the coalition would collapse if there was not a thorough investigation into the Lagarde list and that DIMAR should hold a congress to debate its apparent shift from its pre-election pledges.

Voudouris had quit PASOK to join DIMAR last year. His removal, along with that of Moutsinas, from the party’s parliamentary group has reduced the number of Democratic Left MPs to 14.

New Democracy and PASOK are totally reliant on DIMAR as defections from both of those parties have brought the number of their lawmakers down to 150, which is not enough for a parliamentary majority.