Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he will seek a vote of confidence in Parliament after the resignation of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, leader of junior partner Independent Greeks, over the FYROM name deal.
Tsipras also announced he will replace Kammenos with Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff. The replacement, also approved by Kammenos, will take effect Tuesday.
Kammenos resigned following a Sunday morning meeting with Tsipras.
"The issue of Macedonia does not allow me not to sacrifice the office...I revoke my support for the government. The Independent Greeks are leaving the government," he told reporters after the meeting.
Talking to reporters after their meeting, Tsipras thanked Kammenos for his "irreplacable and significant" contribution to the coalition government, and said that their partnership was frank and fruitful.
Tsipras said his governmnent has a lot of things to do, lots of reforms to implement. “I could have found ad hoc majorities for each issue, but...I do not play it safe,” he added.
A motion of confidence submitted by the government can, in theory, be passed with as few as 120 votes in the 300-member Parliament, if enough lawmakers abstain. By contrast, a motion of no confidence tabled by the opposition needs 151 votes to pass.
Tsipras has indicated in the past that he would not be content leading a minority government and that he would seek the support of 151 Mps.
Tsipras said that he aims to hold a general election at the latest possible date, October 2019.