NEWS

MPs reject SYRIZA bid for bailout probe

As expected, SYRIZA’s bid to have Parliament investigate the decisions that led to Greece requesting a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in 2010 failed on Thursday as coalition MPs voted against the proposal, which led to clashes between the main opposition leftist party and government representatives.

All of the three-party government’s lawmakers voted against the proposal for a parliamentary inquiry into the events leading up to the signing of the EU-IMF memorandum in May 2010. SYRIZA’s suggestion received some support from disparate political forces – the Communist Party, Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn – but only gathered 119 “yes” votes.

The leftists had wanted former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou and ex-Prime Minister George Papandreou to be questioned. In this summer’s election campaign two of the three coalition partners, New Democracy and Democratic Left, had backed the idea of setting up a committee. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras lambasted the government for refusing an inquiry.

“It may be the case that those responsible will not sit in court, but they will sit – some are already sitting – in the margins of history,” said Tsipras, who accused the coalition of maintaining an “omerta,” or code of silence, on the issue.

Earlier the rapporteur for the proposal, SYRIZA’s Yiannis Dragasakis, had described the coalition as being the product of a “business relationship.”

“You want to criminalize political decisions,” said PASOK MP and former Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis in response. “Political decisions, though, cannot be criminalized, they are judged by history.”

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos accused Tsipras of undermining the country’s effort to tackle the crisis. New Democracy lawmaker Costas Tasoulas labeled SYRIZA’s stance “demagogic.”

The leftists suggested they would not give up their attempts to set up an inquiry and are likely to use a case file regarding comments from Greece’s former IMF representative, Panayiotis Roumeliotis, about the government ignoring his warnings in 2010 to prompt another vote.