The debate in Parliament Thursday over an amendment included in a Justice Ministry bill that would impose jail sentence on anyone using force, or threatening to do so, in order to stop auctions of foreclosed properties at courthouses and notary offices, highlighted divisions within the leftist-led coalition.
During Thursday’s debate, SYRIZA lawmakers piled pressure on Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis to either change the amendment or withdraw it altogether, but to no avail.
The amendment was passed into law late Thursday.
In an indication of how divisive the amendment was for the leftist-led coalition, it remained unclear before the roll call Thursday who would vote in favor or against.
“SYRIZA’s DNA cannot allow the prosecution of popular mobilizations,” said SYRIZA lawmaker Yiannis Micheloyiannakis who abstained from the vote. But Kontonis responded that political protests and the use of violence cannot be equated.
Earlier in the day, protesters took to the streets against the new regulations.
The government promised bailout lenders that it will restart auctions, and continue online transactions, to try to reduce the huge number of bad loans at Greek banks that are hindering the country’s economic recovery from recession.
Anti-government campaigners argue that vulnerable households will no longer be protected from home seizures.
The outgoing head of a parliamentary budget oversight committee warned that unless the auctions proceed, banks could be forced to impose a haircut on deposits – a measure that has been emphatically ruled out by the government.