A showdown in the arena of scandals

With elections looming, debate on SYRIZA’s motion of no confidence begins, with vote on Friday

A showdown in the arena of scandals

The censure motion submitted against the government by main opposition SYRIZA is seen as a dress rehearsal of upcoming national elections, with increased polarization and toxicity.

The censure process began on Wednesday afternoon and will conclude on Friday with a vote in Parliament.

The motion submitted by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and the accusatory and incendiary tone he used, combined with the government response accepting the challenge, have all the makings of an extremely tough confrontation.

The government’s approach is that of a full-scale comparison of its achievements with that of SYRIZA’s term in office, while also bearing in mind that opinion polls give the ruling conservatives a steady edge over the leftist opposition party. 

The government believes it could use the debate to show up the SYRIZA administration’s shortcomings and ineptitude in 2015-19.

What’s more, at the current juncture there are specific issues which the ruling conservatives believe can effectively be deployed against the main opposition party. 

For instance, the revelations in the ongoing special court that are being made about former SYRIZA minister Nikos Pappas and reports of bags of black money can only press home the narrative of pervasive corruption and will be one of the weapons in the government’s quiver during the debate in Parliament. 

Moreover there are the recent revelations about the case regarding the supposed dead refugee girl that never was in the Evros border region and how SYRIZA sought to profit from the false claim. It will also seek to highlight the attitude of SYRIZA’s senior officials on migration, as well as its stance on the Novartis affair.

Added to this are the shocking testimonies about the state’s ineptitude during the deadly 2018 Mati fire that are not doing any favors for SYRIZA.

In response to this and its prolonged inability to reap benefits from governmental attrition, SYRIZA is using the phone tapping case as a vehicle to hammer home the arguments of a right-wing government going beyond the pale. It is also trying to appeal to the memory of older voters, who are familiar with approach and terminology regarding the right wing in previous decades. 

At the same time, it is clear Tsipras will seek to chip away personally at the prime minister.

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