A censure motion against the government by leftist opposition SYRIZA failed to pass in Parliament early on Monday, falling far short of the required majority with only 124 votes in the 300-seat House but the coalition’s majority was reduced by one, to 154, after PASOK deputy Theodora Tzakri defected from the government line.
Of the 294 MPs who voted, 124 voted in favor of SYRIZA’s motion, 153 against and 17 present. Tzakri was ejected from PASOK immediately after voting against the government.
SYRIZA’s censure motion against the government was submitted in response to a police raid on the occupied headquarters of the former state broadcaster ERT last Thursday with the opposition condemning the coalition for imposing increasingly undemocratic policies.
The vote followed three days of debate in Parliament, often extremely heated, with clashes between MPs from the leftist opposition and the coalition. Around 3,000 protesters gathered in Syntagma Square as the speeches by party leaders began in the early evening.
Addressing Parliament before the vote, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras condemned SYRIZA for undermining the government’s efforts to heal the country’s economy and negotiate with visiting troika envoys. “You think you can topple the government with your censure motion,” Mr Samaras said, accusing the leftist of “doing everything they can to perpetuate chaos.” “The sacrifices of the people are starting to pay off,” he said, accusing SYRIZA of proposing no realistic alernatives to the government’s economic program.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, for his part, lashed out at the government for imposing disastrous policies that have “decimated” the middle class. “Do you sleep well at night, Mr Prime Minister?” he said, declaring that Samaras had “destroyed society.” Tsipras called for snap elections so that Greeks can “reject the memorandum.”
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who met with troika envoys in Athens on Sunday to discuss the progress of economic reform efforts, insisted in his speech to Parliament earlier on Sunday that there would be no more “horizontal measures,” referring to cuts to salaries and pensions.
Troika envoys were to continue their talks on Monday with Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis before meeting with Stournaras again on Tuesday. Sources said that, although there was some progress in the talks, a deal was unlikely before a eurozone finance ministers’ summit scheduled for Thursday