Coalition faces a double test in Parliament

MPs are due to vote twice on Saturday, on the new property tax and the partial lifting of a moratorium on home foreclosures, with the government hoping its slim parliamentary majority will hold but with one New Democracy lawmaker indicating he would not back the legislation.

The ballot on the property tax, which will be by roll call, was due to take place on Friday but was put off until around noon on Saturday. The vote on the foreclosures ban is expected in the evening.

The government met a number of obstacles on Friday. New Democracy lawmaker Vyron Polydoras slammed the new, unified property tax, saying he could not accept the levy. “What sort of policy is this when you step on homeowner’s throats?” he said. “Do you expect me to vote for this?”

Polydoras did not say outright that he would vote against the tax but the government, which has just 154 of 300 seats in Parliament, will not be counting on his support to get the legislation passed.

Government ministers were also scrambling on Friday to make the legislation on home foreclosures more palatable for coalition deputies. Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis met with PASOK MPs for a second time to discuss possible last-minute changes.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras was called into a hearing of Parliament’s finance committee to remove a number of provisions that were attached to the foreclosures bill but which related to a number of other issues, such as the country’s privatization fund.

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