Both Greece’s conservative-led government and the leftist opposition claimed victory on Thursday after the Parliament’s summer session rejected proposals for a debate regarding a possible referendum on plans to sell part of Public Power Corporation (PPC), the nation’s biggest power producer, to a private competitor in 2015.
A total of seven referendum proposals were submitted after opposition parties refused to back a bid by SYRIZA, gathering support from 139 deputies, which was more than the 120 minimum needed for Parliament’s plenary to be recalled and a vote to be held.
However, parliamentary officials refused to count the separate proposals as one, prompting a reaction from SYRIZA, Independent Greeks, the Communist Party (KKE) and independent MPs who boycotted the session. Democratic Left (DIMAR) and Golden Dawn attended the discussion but not the vote.
Analysts have interpreted the standoff as a prelude to next year’s presidential vote with SYRIZA testing the waters for a political alliance that could block the appointment of a new president and trigger early elections.
“Other parties showed [opposition leader Alexis] Tsipras the yellow card, making clear that they should not be taken for granted in the presidential election,” said State Minister Dimitris Stamatis. “SYRIZA’s dress rehearsal was a flop,” he said.
In the rival camp, SYRIZA officials dismissed Thursday’s debate as a “parody” and a “deeply undemocratic constitutional aberration.” Tsipras reportedly plans to raise the issue in a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias next week.
Nevertheless, party officials reportedly welcomed the emergence of a joint anti-government front and are eyeing similar action on other issues, including the government’s highly controversial bill on coastal development.