Greek PM Tsipras expected to survive confidence vote on Wednesday

  15 January 2019    Read: 1196
Greek PM Tsipras expected to survive confidence vote on Wednesday

Greece’s leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to survive a parliamentary vote of confidence on Wednesday after his right-wing coalition partner quit in disagreement over a deal that aims to end a years-long name dispute with Macedonia, Reuters reports. 

The coalition governing Greece for the past four years crumbled on Sunday after Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, head of the Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, left the government, leaving Tsipras short of an outright majority in parliament and raising the possibility of a snap election.

But investors are relatively confident that Tsipras can win the vote and the market reaction has been muted. Even if he loses, it would mean bringing an election scheduled for October forward by a few months, bankers and analysts said.

“A positive confidence vote (for Tsipras) remains the most likely outcome but even the eventuality of snap elections could be viewed as a shortening of the period of uncertainty,” said Tasos Anastasatos, chief economist at Athens-based Eurobank.

Greek lawmakers will start debating the confidence motion on Tuesday, culminating in a vote late on Wednesday.

Syriza has 145 seats in the 300-seat chamber and the support of one independent lawmaker, so needs at least five more to win.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the conservative opposition New Democracy party, conceded that Tsipras can win the confidence vote in comments to ANT1 TV.

“It is possible that Mr. Tsipras can attain the 151 (deputies) but the clearest solution would be national elections,” he said, calling the coalition’s split a “prearranged and staged divorce.”

On Monday, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and one other ANEL lawmaker said they would support Tsipras. Kammenos expelled them both from the party. Two more ANEL lawmakers have said they will support Tsipras.

However, the crisis has put in doubt the fate of a 2018 deal that changes the name of Macedonia. Greek parliamentary endorsement of the new name - North Macedonia - is required for the tiny Balkan nation to join the European Union and NATO.

New Democracy opposes the deal and is some eight to 12 percentage points ahead of Tsipras’s Syriza party in opinion polls. Macedonia’s parliament ratified the deal last week.

 


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