Comments by Parliamentary Speaker Zoe Constantopoulou prompted the main opposition to walk out of the House during a stormy discussion on Greece’s debt negotiations in the early hours of Tuesday, raising the possibility of a censure motion being submitted for her removal from the head of the assembly.
New Democracy chief and former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras led the departure of his party’s MPs after being repeatedly chided by Constantopoulou over remarks aimed against the SYRIZA-led government during the session, convened by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to brief the House on the progress of negotiations between Athens and Brussels.
“We will not tolerate censorship against this party,” Samaras said in an angry tone before walking out.
“The parliamentary president literally torpedoed the debate, while an awkward and silent prime minister stood by. New Democracy will never again tolerate such a performance coordinated by those who don’t seek help but division,” Samaras said in comments later, accusing Constantopoulou of breaching parliamentary regulations.
The outspoken SYRIZA cadre’s interjections during addresses by the opposition also prompted reactions from centrist To Potami, with party chief Stavros Theodorakis criticizing Constantopoulou for “grading the speakers.”
“How can you ask for consensus from the opposition when you attack and debase it?” PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos said, addressing the House speaker.
Samaras would not confirm whether a motion of censure against Constantopoulou would be submitted, though New Democracy MP Gerasimos Giakoumatos told Antenna TV on Tuesday morning that such a move may be likely after the Easter break.
“I am exasperated by her undemocratic behavior, and they way she’s going about it, she’s headed straight for dismissal,” Giakoumatos said.