Gov’t confident it has votes to pass Prespa agreement; another junior coalition party MP appears positive

8 January 2019
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Sources close to ruling SYRIZA party on Monday again maintained that the current Tsipras coalition government has a majority of votes – 151 deputies οut of 300 – in Parliament to pass the contentious Prespa agreement, which would resolve the long-standing fYRoM “name issue” separating Athens and Skopje.

The unnamed sources, speaking after the first session of SYRIZA’s political secretariat in the new year, one chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, appeared confident that the shaky “strange bedfellows” coalition will pass the provisional agreement, as well as the government’s constitutional revisions and even a tentative and still ill-defined agreement redrawing church-state relations in the country.

In a related development, yet another of the remaining six deputies in DM Panos Kammenos’ Independent Greeks (AN.EL) party – the right-wing junior coalition partner – announced that she would vote in favor of the provisional Prespa agreement, under “conditions”.

“If the Prespa agreement is truly to the benefit of the country, then I don’t believe there is any reason to leave my position and create problems for the government,” Deputy Interior Minister Marina Chrysoveloni said on Monday.

With her comments, three or four of Kammenos’ AN.EL deputies now appear positive towards voting in favor of the agreement, regardless of the former’s repeated and thunderous opposition to the pact, on the one hand, and his political “tightrope act” of continuing to support the Tsipras government and remaining in his Cabinet seat. AN.EL deputies in Parliament, including Kammenos, number seven.

Meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party stepped up its pressure on the poll-trailing coalition government, this time over the prospect of the latter trying to hold its mandate even without a majority of deputies in Parliament voting to pass its most prominent bills.

“They’re (Tsipras and Kammenos) sinking our country into a dangerous instability, during a period when it is facing crucial national and economic issues,” a ND announcement read, while saying Tsipras has two choices: a vote of confidence in Parliament or snap elections.

“A minority government has never existed since 1974, and it’s inconceivable for one to exist now”.

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