ATHENS – Election year rhetoric is heating up in Greece with the office of Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras daring major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis to call a no-confidence vote in the government.
Mitsotakis did that last year but it failed in the Parliament that the coalition controls, with 144 votes from SYRIZA, seven from its junior coalition partner, the pro-austerity, tiny, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and one alleged Independent who’s aligned with the Leftists.
Kammenos though said if another censure motion were brought that he would no longer back Tsipras, who reached deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to rename that country and give away the name of the ancient Greek province of Macedonia, which the defense chief opposes.
But Kammenos has waffled repeatedly and later said he would back Tsipras and might not, as he vowed, take ANEL out of the government with several of his Members of Parliament saying they would vote for the deal and against their leader.
New Democracy said the government is destabilizing the country, leading a confident Tsipras to have his office egg on the Conservatives to challenge him in Parliament where he believes he has enough votes to survive a no-confidence vote.
“ND and Mr. Mitsotakis, who have been calling for the government to quit and for elections to be held every other day for the past three years, are now ostensibly concerned about political stability,” the statement said.
“If they have genuine doubts about the government’s support in Parliament, all they have to do is try, submitting a censure motion,” the statement added. There was no immediate response from New Democracy or Mitsotakis who has been regularly calling for Tsipras to call elections before they are required in October at the latest.