NEWS

Coalition boosts ranks for vote of confidence

The coalition is expected to comfortably win a confidence vote in Parliament on Friday, especially after its ranks were boosted on Thursday by the return of independent MP Nikitas Kaklamanis to New Democracy.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who missed the first two days of debate as he was out of the country for a European Union leaders’ meeting, is to deliver a closing address in Parliament that will focus largely on the government’s achievements over the last two years.

Samaras is also expected to announce the details of the government’s new payment plan for taxpayers and businesses owing money to the state.

The government only needs the support of 146 lawmakers to win the vote as nine Golden Dawn MPs will be barred from taking part because they are in pretrial custody. The coalition added a 155th deputy to its ranks on Friday after Kaklamanis reached an agreement to return.

Kaklamanis was ousted in December after failing to support a property tax bill. He then had a bitter row with New Democracy after deciding to stand against the party’s candidate for Athens mayor in the May local elections. The lawmaker’s return to New Democracy’s parliamentary group means Samaras’s party now has 127 lawmakers.