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Politics

Censure Motion over Storm Fails against Greek Government

January 31, 2022

ATHENS — A censure motion brought by the main opposition party against the Greek government over its handling of a severe snowstorm last Monday has been rejected after a three-day debate.

Lawmakers voted 156-142 against the motion after an often-acrimonious debate in which former prime minister and current opposition leader Alexis Tsipras criticized Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The result was expected, as the ruling center-right New Democracy holds 157 seats in the 300-member Parliament. A ruling party lawmaker was hospitalized, and another one, expelled last October, voted “present.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during a parliament session in Athens, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

Tsipras accused Mitsotakis of having “retreated into a bubble created by court jesters and incompetent pollsters,” and of being “politically finished.” He dared the prime minister to resign and call a new election, a year and a half before the end of the government’s four-year term.

The Greek opposition leader painted a bleak picture of a country where citizens are unable to live even paycheck to paycheck, with a gutted national health system.

In his response, Mitsotakis acknowledged deficiencies in dealing with the snowstorm, but highlighted his government’s achievements, noting that his government had doubled the number of intensive care units and hired 12,000 health workers. He promised an era of prosperity when the effects of the pandemic receded.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during a parliament session in Athens, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

Mitsotakis also took a dig at Tsipras. “Your challenge now is to stay in second place.”

The latest polls, the validity of which the opposition disputes, show New Democracy with a double-digit lead, with the socialist Movement for Change, under a new leader, closing in on Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party.

Monday’s storm dumped large amounts of snow on Athens, trapping thousands of drivers on the road to the airport and forcing the government to send in the army to help the motorists. There were also widespread power outages.

 

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