Independent MP’s Flip, Will Back SYRIZA, Tsipras

Costas Zouraris.(Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS – Six Greek independent lawmakers who left or were ejected from their parties are aligning themselves with the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA and pledged their votes and support to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, giving him a one-vote majority in Parliament.

Tsipras had lost that when his former coalition partner, the tiny, pro-austerity, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) of former defense chief Panos Kammenos left the government in objection to a deal renaming the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM,) giving away the name of an ancient Greek province.

The defectors, two of whom were from ANEL and held ministerial positions they didn’t want to give up, two others from ANEL and two from To Potami that was elected in opposition to SYRIZA are backing away from far right and centrist alleged principles to support the Leftists, their otherwise ideological enemy.

They would likely have not returned to Parliament with polls showing their parties far below the 3 percent threshold needed to get elected in polls this year that must be held by October but could be sooner.

Tsipras was said to also be considering them on SYRIZA’s ticket for the elections although that could displace Leftists who’ve been with him all along with the party far behind its major rival New Democracy and on a path to lose many of the 145 seats they now hold.

The six votes from the Independents, who are giving up their independence, gives the administration 151 in the 300-member body so it doesn’t have to try to rule as a minority government by patching together votes for each piece of legislation brought.

The defectors, who had backed Tsipras in a vote of confidence he won by two votes, as well as supporting the deal to call FYROM by North Macedonia, pledged their support in writing in a letter.

It was signed by Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, Deputy Agriculture Minister Vassilis Kokkalis, Deputy Citizens’ Protection Minister Katerina Papacosta,  Thanassis Papachristopoulos, Spyros Danellis and Costas Zouraris.

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