Greek gov’t confidence vote debate to stir more tension


A new round of political acrimony is expected this week as Parliament opens discussions Wednesday on a confidence vote called by the government in response to a censure motion filed by opposition New Democracy Monday against Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis.

Polakis has come under fire after suggesting that 34-year-old psychiatrist Stelios Kymbouropoulos, a candidate for the conservative opposition in the upcoming European Parliament elections, made “shameful” use of affirmative action laws to get a state job.

“Anywhere else in the civilized world, [a censure motion] would not be necessary as this particular politician would have been sent home… he’s not fit to be minister,” said ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Announcing the confidence vote, Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis dismissed the conservative party’s motion as a publicity stunt. The confidence vote, he added, will allow for “discussions on the problems of the people.”

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is seen surviving the vote expected on Friday – the second confidence motion in his government since the beginning of the year – picking up the votes of 145 SYRIZA MPs and at least six independents in the 300-seat House.

Earlier Monday, the government submitted draft legislation outlining new payment plans for millions of Greeks with outstanding debts to tax authorities and pension funds.

The move coincided with the arrival of the mission chiefs of the country’s European creditors ahead of the third enhanced surveillance report on Greece.