PM Samaras and Venizelos sure of vote victory

Coalition leaders Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos expect their government to comfortably survive next Friday’s vote of confidence in Parliament.

The two men met for the second time in two days on Thursday and government sources said that both are confident that they will rally the 154 New Democracy and PASOK MPs for the vote.

“I do not think that any of the government’s lawmakers are irresponsible enough to bring it down,” said PASOK’s Panayiotis Rigas on Thursday, speaking to Alpha Radio.

Socialist deputy Thanos Moraitis, who has previously hinted he might not vote for the government’s presidential candidate in February, suggested that he has no intention of failing to support the coalition in next week’s ballot.

On PASOK’s side, the only serious doubt is about how former party leader George Papandreou will vote. Relations between Venizelos and his predecessor are poor and there has been no contact between the two men.

Samaras appears confident that all of his deputies will fall into line, even though the government only needs 146 votes to secure a majority as nine Golden Dawn MPs will not vote since they are in pretrial custody.

Samaras will not be in Parliament for the start of the confidence vote debate on Wednesday as he will be taking part in the European Union leaders’ summit in Brussels.

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