The coalition late Tuesday rejected a call by the main opposition party New Democracy for the creation of a parliamentary committee to probe the government’s drafting of a contingency plan for a possible exit from the eurozone, the imposition of capital controls on banks last summer and the signing of a third bailout.
The motion by ND was rejected by 155 votes to 96 in the 300-seat House with 20 MPs voting “present” following a tense session. The proposal would have required a minimum of 120 votes in favor in order for a committee to be set up. Apart from coalition partners SYRIZA and Independent Greeks, the motion was also rejected by the small Union of Centrists.
Before the vote, ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis lashed out at Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for his handling of last year’s negotiations with Greece’s creditors and declared that the next government would conduct a probe into the period in question, suggesting that he would be at the helm of that administration.
Although Tsipras did not address Parliament, several other key cabinet members insisted in their speeches that the government did everything it could for the country and claimed that making contingency plans did not constitute a Plan B or X for a eurozone exit.
“You are trying with your proposal to be the accusers but you are the defendants,” Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis said.
Mitsotakis accused Tsipras of deliberately letting the negotiations drag on and of “dramatizing” the situation by calling for a referendum that allowed him to reverse pre-election pledges.
“You chose a lengthy negotiation which perhaps was useful to you, but catastrophic for the country,” Mitsotakis said, lambasting the government for its “complete surrender” by agreeing to a third bailout.
The conservative leader also questioned the motives behind Tsipras’s decision to call snap elections last September.
“Why did you call for [elections]? To rid yourself of your party opponents or to expunge the government of possible criminal liability?” Mitsotakis said.
Potami backed New Democracy’s request as did PASOK, which demanded, however, that the investigation should cover a longer time frame beginning in 2002.
Yanis Varoufakis, who was the finance minister at the time, told The Press Project, that he will submit the minutes of the Eurogroups he attended and said if the government had stayed the couse the creditors would have backed down. He also said his movement Diem 25 will stand in the next elections.