Athens, July 11, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Greece’s Parliament has authorized the SYRIZA government to sign an agreement with creditors and avert a meltdown of the country’s eurozone membership, with an unprecedented early morning vote drawing cross-party support for a deal. The vote nevertheless was not “bloodless”, as several ruling party MPs defied the party line and voted “present”, including outspoken Parliament President Zoe Konstantopoulou and two ministers.
Out of 300 deputies in the Parliament, 251 MPs voted in favour, eight voted “present” and 32 voted against. Nine MPs were “no shows”. The vote witnessed one of the biggest majorities ever for such an important bill.
Eight SYRIZA MPs voted “present”, two voted against. Along with those absent, 16 SYRIZA deputies failed to “toe the party line”, with most belonging to the far-leftist wings of the party. The number of “losses” is a negative development for Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA, given that the ruling coalition MPs that voted in favor is under 150, a development viewed as an unofficial “no confidence” vote.
The one-article draft bill is entitled “Negotiation and Achievement of a Loan Agreement with the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)”.
Amongst the absent MPs were Yanis Varoufakis, the FinMin until last week, and Rachel Makri, an outspoken deputy who switched from her right-of-center Independent Greeks’ party to radical left SYRIZA during the last election.
Another high-profile “present” vote was by Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who expresses the views of the “Left Platform”, a virulently anti-capitalist and “Euro-skeptic” formation within SYRIZA.
Main opposition New Democracy was joined by the Potami party and PASOK in voted along with most of the coalition MPs, SYRIZA and the Independent Greeks. MPs from Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) and the Communist Party (KKE) voted against.