The Greek government is on yet another crossroads. The casting of votes for the new package of measures will show how much support the Government lead by SYRIZA and Prime Minister Tsipras can enjoy from the party’s own rank. The leftist party has inched even closer to dissolution following yesterday’s appeal by former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who called for a new political movement.
Discussion in Parliament for the new measures is expected to start later this afternoon or in the evening, after the various parliamentary commissions finish their discussion. It is predicted there are going to be delays of the discussion which means the voting will probably take place in the early morning hours.
This is going to be a difficult day for Prime Minister Tsipras because he must back the austerity memorandum which he opposed in the last few years. This time around, he wouldn’t be able to count on all of SYRIZA MPs. The question is how many members of parliament will stand with him. If the number falls below 120, chances are Tsipras will have to call for snap elections, possibly as early as September. His close affiliates, in an effort to rally broader support, have said that a leftist government will not stand for too long if it doesn’t get the support of more than 120 MPs. This was pointed out by the Government’s spokesperson Olga Gerovasili and minister Alekos Flaburaris, who said that if support for the memorandum falls below 120 MPs, the Government isn’t going to survive for too long and immediate procedures will have to be taken to fix the problem.
It is rumored that around 35 MPs of SYRIZA’s radical left wing are going to vote against the memorandum and by that they will announce their withdrawal from the party. This morning, Lafazanis and ten other members of SYRIZA, called for a new party to be made which will fight the memorandum and the coming economic recession that Greece will sink into. The new party will represent the demands of the people for democracy and social justice. This was officially the last roll of the dice that will see the divison of SYRIZA, which would enter the eventual snap elections in a much different, divided membership.
It is left to be seen whether other MPs, besides SYRIZA’s radical wing, will also give up on Tsipras. Alexis Mitropoulos, the deputy president of the Greek assembly, has also refused to give his support for the memorandum. Although he voted in favor of all the proposals thus far, Mitropoulos said this was the worst austerity program Athens has agreed to. MP Dimitris Stratulis pointed that there are many constraining clauses that will bear down on society, while MP Statis Leutsakos asked Tsipras to think better than voting for the new memorandum.
Opposition parties such as The River, New Democracy and PASOK are going to support the measures, although in the ranks of the socialists and conservatives there are reactions against certain measures. The opposition is asking Tsipras to meet their demands as a precondition to gain their support.