NEWS

PM, coalition partner mull fallout of reform vote

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his coalition partner, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, on Monday met to discuss the fallout of a tough vote in Parliament on a new set of reforms agreed with the troika which reduced the government’s majority to two seats in the 300-member House.

The government won the vote with 152 MPs backing the first article, which introduces a raft of measures to boost competition, and 151 backing the second article, which sets out new rules for recapitalizing banks.

But there were defections. New Democracy MP Nikitas Kaklamanis refused to back the measures, prompting Samaras to expel him. Two PASOK MPs also broke ranks – former Socialist Premier George Papandreou, who voted against the second article, and veteran MP Apostolos Kaklamanis, who voted “present” for the same article. Venizelos did not eject the two MPs, as this would have led to the coalition losing its majority, but issued a strongly worded statement against Papandreou.

A few hours before Sunday’s vote, opposition SYRIZA MPs walked out of the debate after Parliament Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis rejected their call for a censure motion against Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras that would have meant the vote on the bill being postponed. In return, SYRIZA lodged a censure motion against Meimarakis.

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