Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos has ruled out the prospect of a vote of confidence in the SYRIZA-led administration in the event that its junior partner, Independent Greeks (ANEL), quits the coalition over its objections to the name deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
“We are not examining the prospect of a confidence vote,” Tzanakopoulos told News 24/7 radio on Wednesday. He added that there are no indications suggesting the government will lose Parliament’s confidence and cited a pledge by ANEL leader Panos Kammenos not to back a censure motion, if it is tabled by conservative opposition New Democracy. He also insisted that the name deal will secure the 151 votes necessary for its ratification, even without ANEL’s backing.
In that eventuality, Tzanakopoulos said, the government would seek to extend its lease on life without ANEL through a “vote of tolerance” – whereby an administration can secure its survival with a minority of 120 MPs on the condition they form a majority at the time of the vote.
However, constitutional experts told Kathimerini that such a minority government would not last long. New Democracy spokesperson Maria Spyraki also said that it would lack legitimacy, hinting again that a censure motion could be tabled.
For the time being at least, the administration of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appears fully focused on its short-term goal to extend its life by a few months. This is mainly because the government is waiting for a series of recently legislated benefits and handouts targeting those hardest hit by the crisis to kick in.
Moreover, it may also rid itself of nationalist ANEL, which is seen by many in SYRIZA as a necessary evil dictated by the circumstances of Greece’s crisis.