NEWS

SYRIZA seeks to redraw political map, form ‘progressive majority’

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As the government appeared confident of clinching the 151 votes it needs to survive a confidence motion in Parliament late on Wednesday with support from its former coalition partner, the Independent Greeks (ANEL), and other MPs, the focus has already shifted to whether ruling SYRIZA will muster a majority to back the Prespes name deal.

SYRIZA has 145 MPs in the 300-seat House and is seeking the support of at least 151 lawmakers to ratify the accord, with an absolute majority, with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which prompted the departure of nationalist ANEL from the coalition on Sunday. However, based on the country's constitution, the prime minister only needs to secure half of those present in the 300-seat chamber during the vote and at least 120 votes to win.

With the issue becoming increasingly contentious since ANEL's exit, the onus now falls on centrist To Potami, with six seats in Parliament, to ratify the deal and prevent the prospect of serious political and social rifts over the last summer's agreement with FYROM, which the majority of Greeks are opposed to.

The government's intention to carry on with support from individual lawmakers, meanwhile, was indicated by Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis in his speech to lawmakers on Wednesday.

“The request for a vote of confidence [in the government] is above the need for numbers in Parliament; it is a deeper political issue and concerns not just the present of this government, but its prospects as well,” he said.

“The confidence vote is not about a majority of convenience aimed at extending the government's life for a few months. It is, instead, the start of a general shakeup of the political landscape, aimed at a new progressive majority, a broad partnership that will put together a plan for the next day for Greece,” Dragasakis added.