Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is assessing his political damages after “losing” 17 coalition Ministers and MPs who voted against or abstained in the crucial parliament vote on the Greek proposals to international creditors.
It was no surprise that prominent extreme leftists in SYRIZA voted against or “present” when they had publicly announced prior to the vote that they do not approve the austerity measures that Tsipras proposed in order to achieve a new bailout agreement.
The party’s Left Platform rejected pension cuts, spending cuts and tax hikes, claiming that the Greek people had already rejected them in last week’s referendum.
Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, Deputy Labor Minister Dimitris Stratoulis as well as Parliament President Zoe Konstantopoulou, all called “present,” in effect abstaining from the vote and withholding their support to the government.
“The government is being totally blackmailed to acquiesce to something that does not reflect what it represents,” Konstantopoulou said and also refused to allow the plenary to vote before 12:01 am on Saturday, citing a parliament regulation that does not allow a plenary vote on a subject the same day it was approved by the appropriate committees.
Five more SYRIZA lawmakers voted “present” while two others voted “no.” Seven other party MPs were absent, and in essence showed they disapprove the proposal. Among the absent MPs was former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis who went to his holiday home on the island of Aegina claiming “family obligations.”
Five Left Platform members signed a letter saying it would be better to return to the drachma than return to austerity with no debt writeoff.
At the same time, several SYRIZA MPs stated that they may have voted in favor of the proposal but they did so heavy-hearted.
Analysts expect major developments after European partners and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) grant Greece a bailout package. It is uncertain if Tsipras will get his party’s approval when the new bailout agreement measures come to parliament to become laws. It is also uncertain how he would react to his party’s “defectors.” Will there be a major cabinet reshuffle? Or an expulsion of certain party “rebels”? Or will Tsipras call for snap elections?
All these questions will be answered after the government secures a deal. Tsipras said: “What matters now is the positive outcome in the negotiations. Everything else will be dealt with in time.”