Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras survived a vote of confidence in Parliament on Friday, less than three weeks before the crucial European and local elections scheduled for May 26.
153 MP’s voted in favor of the government in a vote originally called by main opposition party New Democracy, which sought to censure junior Health minister Pavlos Polakis.
Polakis drew fire after saying it was “shameful” that a New Democracy EU election candidate — 34-year-old psychiatrist Stelios Kybouropoulos, who suffers spinal muscular atrophy — had legally used a disability quota to secure a job at a state hospital.
The government reacted by calling a confidence vote in an apparent bid to avoid making the outspoken minister the focus of a debate in the countdown to elections, particularly as several MPs in the leftist SYRIZA party objected to his behavior.
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it was “blackmail” that Tsipras had “turned the censure motion into a vote of confidence,” calling the prime minister a “liar” and a “hypocrite.”