More cracks are threatening to destabilize the coalition government, after a lawmaker from junior partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) left its parliamentary group in protest at the name deal signed between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
The move by Giorgos Lazaridis, who said that any deal must be ratified with a supermajority of 180 in Parliament instead of a simple majority, has further reduced the coalition’s House majority to 152 out of 300 seats.
Moreover, ANEL’s parliamentary group shrank to just seven lawmakers.
This was the second blow to the ruling coalition in as many weeks, after ANEL expelled Dimitris Kammenos from its parliamentary group for refusing to back the government in a confidence motion over the name deal.
Furthermore, speaking to Skai TV on Tuesday, Kammenos said the coalition will seek to call early elections before the name deal goes to Parliament.
The government attributed the move by Lazaridis to a plan to destabilize the government hatched by business interests in Piraeus and Thessaloniki allegedly linked to New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The government also called on Lazaridis to “prove” that his move wasn’t part of this plan, which it said is a desperate move by the conservative leader given that the “end of the memorandums, the end of austerity and debt relief, have canceled out all of the arguments of Mitsotakis” who is now scrambling to preempt developments in the ongoing judicial issues that concern him.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday after meeting with his British counterpart Theresa May, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras dismissed concerns his ruling coalition’s majority was in danger, saying it “is too hard to die.”
Despite its public guise of defiance, the coalition is reportedly shaken by the latest departure as other members of nationalist ANEL have also shown a tendency to oppose policies formulated by ruling SYRIZA – such as that concerning the right of same-sex couples to foster children.
SYRIZA is reportedly examining the possibility of wooing independent lawmakers and others from parties like To Potami and Democratic Alignment (DISY) in a bid to prepare for further possible departures.