Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras plans to request a vote of confidence on Monday, prompting a three-day debate which is likely to commence on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister’s decision – supported by government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos – was announced by government spokesperson Sofia Voultepsi following a meeting between the two leaders. The purported reason behind the vote is to quell rumors about potential early elections.
Members who support the ruling coalition will now be requested to state in a parliamentary session whether they support the Samaras regime. The vote will come while the troika is in Athens to evaluate Greece’s financial reforms.
With this move, Samaras is trying to rally the support of the 154 MPs who now stand by the current government. He also hopes to silence any dissidence in the ranks.
The vote is a politically-calculated gesture: Nobody can deliver a “yes” vote and then continue criticizing Samaras’s judgment, particularly where ongoing troika talks are concerned.
In short, the government is trying to “cluster” government MPs and to gain time – until Christmas at the earliest – to proceed with the reforms required by the troika.
The upcoming debate will see a long-awaited clash with SYRIZA in both the political and economic arenas. To counter SYRIZA’s promises to the Greek people, the Samaras government is reportedly prepared to announce tax breaks and a potential scenario by which Greece can finally exit the memorandum.
The rub is not only to convince 154 MPs – and perhaps more – of the viability of the current government; next spring’s election of a president of the Greek Republic must also be brought to the table. If this issue is resolved, SYRIZA will have lost its major playing card in calling for early elections.
In keeping with the tenets of the Greek Constitution, a blessing will take place before the regular Plenary session before the Parliament begins its Monday session. The government will then submit its request for a vote of confidence. The proposal will probably be deliberated until Wednesday. Two days of debate will follow. We can expect a vote on Friday or Saturday night.