Union of Centrists MP quits, stripping party of parliamentary group status

Union of Centrists MP quits, stripping party of parliamentary group status

Centrists Union MP Giannis Saridis resigned on Thursday to become an independent after a long disagreement with the party over policy, stripping the party of its status as a parliamentary group.

The lawmaker announced his decision in a letter to Parliament President Nikos Voutsis.

Saridis’ departure reduced the party's representation in Parliament to four – below the minimum of five required for an elected party to be represented in the House.

His move was not surprising, as the lawmaker had supported governing SYRIZA in two crucial votes in Parliament in the recent past: On December 2018, he had approved the government’s budget and on 10 May this year, he supported the government in a confidence vote.

In both cases, party leader Vasilis Leventis refused to remove his from the Union of Centrists to avoid the dissolution of the parliamentary group.

Saridis further distanced himself from the party by admitting in a TV interview that he did not vote for the Union of Centrists in the EU elections.

Leventis' associates told that the dissolution of the parliamentary group does not have any political significance as the country is heading to national elections in a little more than a month.

They also suggested that Saridis’ motives for resigning now are personal.

The Union of Centrists was among the parties to lose big in the EU elections last Sunday, receiving just 1.45 percent of the vote. 

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