Tzakri becomes fifth coalition MP not to back gov’t legislation

Fears that government MPs are suffering from “fatigue” due to having to frequently vote for new and unpopular measures was highlighted on Wednesday as PASOK’s Theodora Tzakri become the latest coalition lawmaker to refuse to support legislation.

Tzakri voted “present” for an amendment regarding the settling of state debt to the Athens Water and Sewage Company (EYDAP), a move that is seen as a step toward privatizing the service. The amendment passed with just 51 votes in favor and 44 against in Parliament’s pared-down summer session. After the ballot, Tzakri accused Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of wanting to sell the family silver.

“The stance I took is natural for progressive forces who want to stop Mr Samaras’s plans to sell off the country,” she said. Her action and comments led to a flurry of calls from PASOK’s leadership to Tzakri. She later issued a more moderate statement.

“I disagree with the terms under which EYDAP is being privatized and that is why I voted ‘present,’” said the lawmaker from Pella in northern Greece.

In an interview with Reuters this week, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras expressed concern about the impact that “fatigue” among government deputies would have on the coalition’s reform drive. Tzakri is the fifth lawmaker from New Democracy and PASOK this month to fail to support government legislation.

So far no MPs have been expelled as the two-party administration only has a five-seat parliamentary majority. But Samaras warned New Democracy deputies last week that if they do not back legislation that is linked to Greece’s bailout commitments, they will be expelled from the party.

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