Growing coalition jitters about vote on new measures


The deepening concern within SYRIZA and the government about how to manage the impact of a potential deal with Greece’s lenders became evident on Monday when Interior Minister Panos Skourletis suggested the coalition should seek the support of an enhanced parliamentary majority for any agreement.

“There is a need for the additional measures to be voted for by a wide majority in Parliament,” Skourletis told Real FM. “I don’t know if that will be 180 MPs, more or less.”

Skourletis added that he was expressing a personal view, which is what government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos stressed in a press briefing afterward.

Tzanakopoulos also noted that the government has a three-seat majority in Parliament and, as such, does not need the support of any other parties. He said, though, that the coalition would invite opposition groups to back the measures once an agreement with the institutions is reached.

New Democracy, PASOK and To Potami have said they will not vote for the agreement. “They will be on their own with their measures and in the depths of hell,” said PASOK’s parliamentary spokesman and former minister Andreas Loverdos.

The latest University of Macedonia opinion poll for Skai indicated that the gap between New Democracy and SYRIZA has widened slightly. Although support for the conservatives edged down from 33 percent last month to 32.5 percent now, the leftists also saw their backing decline from 16.5 to 15.5 percent, creating a gap of 17 points between the two parties.

There were no significant moves among the other parties, with Golden Dawn and the Communist Party in joint third place on 7.5 percent.

According to the poll, 87 percent of respondents were unhappy with the government’s performance. This includes 75 percent of SYRIZA supporters.

Just over half of those questioned said they believe that New Democracy should not vote for the measures being discussed by the government and its lenders, while 29.5 percent said that the opposition party should back the interventions in a show of consensus. Just 19 percent of New Democracy voters said they believe the party should vote for the package of measures if it comes to Parliament.