Parties at odds over referendum proposals on PPC selloff

The government has proposed a discussion in Parliament on Friday on whether a clutch of proposals by opposition parties for a debate on a referendum about the partial privatization of the Public Power Corporation can be approved but the main leftist opposition SYRIZA looked set to boycott the session.

A discussion between Parliament Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis and the House’s deputy speakers on Thursday ended in those aligned with the two coalition parties suggesting that the seven opposition proposals for a debate on a plebiscite for the PPC sell-off should not be counted as one proposal. They called instead for all the parties to sign the same proposal for a debate on the spinoff of 30 percent of PPC, a troika-mandated measure which was voted through Parliament on Wednesday.

The aim of this initiative, sources said, was to make SYRIZA appear to be cooperating with neofascist Golden Dawn, one of the seven parties calling for a referendum.

Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis said the signatures of the Communist Party (KKE) must be counted in the tally, otherwise his party would withdraw its proposal as the initiative would depend on GD.

The support of a minimum of 120 MPs is needed for Parliament’s plenary session, now in summer recess, to be recalled and a debate to begin. Without KKE, the number of MPs backing a debate on a plebiscite would be 127, which is adequate but would oblige other parties to cooperate with the neofascist GD. If KKE’s signatures are counted, the total is 123. But it remained doubtful whether KKE will agree to sign a common proposal with other parties.

SYRIZA, which was the first to propose a referendum, said it would not attend the Parliament session on Friday. One of its MPs, Panayiotis Lafazanis, accused the government of a “serious democratic derailment.”

Separately, DIMAR suffered a blow after two MPs – Grigoris Psarianos and Katerina Markou – quit, leaving the party with 11 lawmakers.