NEWS

Main opposition weighing censure motion

ARISTOTELIA PELONI, GIORGOS BOURDARAS

TAGS: Politics

As MPs prepare to debate the Prespes deal in Parliament’s plenary session on Wednesday, conservative New Democracy was said to be weighing the possibility of lodging a censure motion against the government to underline its objections to the accord and postpone proceedings.

The vote had been expected for Thursday night, after two days of debate.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to gain approval for the accord, which would pave the way for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to join NATO and the European Union.

In addition to leftist SYRIZA’s 145 MPs, he appears to have enough opposition and independent legislators in favor of the accord to push it into law.

The only question, it seemed on Tuesday night, was whether the vote would happen as scheduled or if ND would put it off with a censure motion.

In that case, a vote on the name deal would be postponed until next week, or possibly happen over the weekend.

ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis fueled speculation that a censure motion might be in the offing by saying on Tuesday that his party will do “everything it can” to avert the ratification of the deal.

“All MPs will have to confront their conscience, and have to answer to history, for their decisions,” he said.

The strategy behind such a move would be to show that the conservatives took all possible action to stop the deal.

Also, ND would seek to show up MPs who support the deal but oppose the confidence vote, particularly former members of the junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL), whose leader Panos Kammenos quit the government earlier this month.

Mitsotakis remarked on Tuesday that it was “inconceivable” for MPs to debate the deal without the submission in Parliament of an updated version of FYROM’s constitution, reflecting the changes agreed between the two sides.

On Tuesday, Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos submitted a document that, he said, was a copy of FYROM’s constitution in English from FYROM’s government website.

Opposition MPs argued, however, that the constitution presented had not been revised, but only had the changes listed at the end of the document.

Katrougalos also prompted discontent among MPs by responding to criticism that the deal allows residents of FYROM to call themselves “Macedonians” by saying, “The deal can’t regulate issues relating to peoples or nations.”

Kammenos remarked that, “if that is their right, what was the point of the agreement?” – adding that ANEL’s misgivings had been vindicated.

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