Minority gov’t scrambles to approve bills

Minority gov’t scrambles to approve bills

In the wake of the departure from the government of junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) earlier this month, leftist SYRIZA is already struggling to push legislation through Parliament.

A vote that had been scheduled for Tuesday night on an Administrative Reform Ministry bill introducing changes to the system of public sector hirings was postponed until Wednesday after the government failed to secure support over and above SYRIZA’s 145 MPs in the 300-seat House.

Leftist Giorgos Varemenos, who was presiding speaker on Tuesday evening, put off the vote after he caught on that it was heading for defeat.

The bill was finally pushed into law on Wednesday following fierce debate between leftist and conservative lawmakers, and after the government managed to secure the support of independent MPs Elena Kountoura, who is tourism minister (formerly of ANEL), Katerina Papacosta, who is deputy citizens’ protection minister, and Spyros Danellis (formerly of To Potami), and ANEL MPs Vassilis Kokkalis and Thanassis Papachristopoulos.

The upheaval in Parliament fueled speculation over whether the above MPs – who also supported the government in the recent Prespes deal vote and/or confidence vote – should join SYRIZA’s parliamentary group.

Commenting afterward, Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis said that all ballots would henceforth be held by roll call, indicating that independent MPs who supported the government in a recent confidence vote should be obliged to make clear their positions.

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