Venizelos opts for no action against rebel MPs after multi-bill vote

PASOK leader and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos did not take any disciplinary action on Thursday against the two Socialist MPs who failed to back the government’s multi-bill in Parliament during a late night vote on Wednesday.

The package of reforms, which the troika had demanded before releasing further bailout loans, passed with 153 votes in favor on all of the 109 articles, apart from one. The New Democracy-PASOK coalition has 155 MPs but one conservative deputy was unable to take part in the vote due to a death in his family.

PASOK MP Apostolos Kaklamanis failed to support any of the multi-bill’s articles, while fellow lawmaker Paris Koukoulopoulos voted for all the articles apart from the one that paved the way for the municipal police to be disbanded. To make matters worse for Venizelos, Koukoulopoulos is also the party’s parliamentary spokesman.

A number of PASOK lawmakers implored Venizelos to dismiss the rebel MP but no such decision was taken following a meeting between the PASOK leader and Koukoulopoulos on Thursday.

“The discussion was held in a positive atmosphere and the party president knew ahead of time of my decision, which was completely a matter of conscience,” the deputy told reporters.

There was also no indication that Venizelos would take action against Kaklamanis, who is seen as a sometimes eccentric presence within the Socialist party. Given that PASOK only has 28 lawmakers, and the coalition a five-seat parliamentary majority, Venizelos is likely to show more tolerance toward dissenters than in previous votes, when PASOK and New Democracy ousted lawmakers that failed to back government bills.

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