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DIMAR or the clockwork bomb in the hands of Samaras

07 January 2013 / 18:01:14  GRReporter
3024 reads

Victoria Mindova

The parliamentary group of the Democratic Left (DIMAR) involved in the governing coalition lost two of its members. The deputies Odysseas Voudouris and Paris Moutsinas were disaffiliated with the party having decided to support the decision of the opposition SYRIZA, which insists on the formation of a special commission to indict for the "Lagarde List" case not only the former Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou but also his successor Evangelos Venizelos.

Venizelos is currently the leader of PASOK and supports the coalition government; his involvement in the scandal of illegal modification of the list of names of Greeks with accounts in a Swiss bank will undermine the current government of consent. The government fears that this may cause a new political crisis, which would be much more serious than that following George Papandreou’s deposition in 2011.

SYRIZA insists that Venizelos is also responsible and wants to know why the list of names was not used earlier to identify the potential tax offenders who had not declared their money in Greece before depositing it in bank accounts abroad. According to it, he should be under investigation like George Papakonstantinou. So far, all the clues of guilt point to Papakonstantinou and there are no grounds to consider the PASOK leader criminally liable. So, the tripartite government wants to exclude his name from the investigation at this stage. The government coalition (New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left) disagrees with the way SYRIZA looks at the problem and wants the radical left to make a distinction between the party and criminal liability in the concealment of the names of the Papakonstantinou family.

Voudouris and Moutsinas from the Democratic Left ignored the policy adopted on the issue of investigating the persons involved in the "Lagarde List". They refused to follow the line set by the leader Fotis Kouvelis and openly opposed it, which cost them their political affiliation.

"The two deputies had been systematically and consistently distinguishing themselves from all positions supported by the party until they reached a complete separation from the parliamentary group of the Democratic Left," says Kouvelis, adding that DIMAR is a democratic party and respects different opinions. However, in the case of the two deputies, all possibilities for them to remain part of it have been exhausted.

The problems with Voudouris and Moutsinas started as early as with the formation of the new coalition government. The backdoor disputes about the role to be played by the Democratic Left were an integral part of the political life of the party. In November 2012, when the parliament had to accept the third package of fiscal consolidation measures, the Democratic Left had unanimously decided that its deputies would vote "Abstention". The fiscal measures were contrary to the ideology of the centre-left party but the vote "Against" them would mean a withdrawal of the support from the coalition government. Therefore, Kouvelis tried to be neutral in order to preserve the unity of the government and urged the members of the party to vote "Abstention".

Paris Moutsinas and Odysseas Voudouris decided to be individualists and voted "Against" the third fiscal consolidation package against which Greece received the approval for the payment of 34.4 billion euro. Then, there was no penalty for them. There was no penalty when they voted "Against" all the articles of the 2013 budget, with the exception of the one that cuts the costs of the presidency. Their new demonstration of defiance has cost them this time and they are now independent deputies.

Local political analysts predict that in 2013, the tension in the parties in government will continue to grow. The cuts already accepted will be enacted and the first stronger negative vibrations in society will shake the Democratic Left the strongest. Its deputies are seriously split as far as the correctness and effectiveness of the economic programme pursued so far are concerned and they are expected to be the first to abandon ship when the new storm of social discontent approaches.

The signals the Democratic Left is starting to send early in the new year are quite alarming. It is not yet known whether Fotis Kouvelis’ party will be the stone that will overturn the cart of the coalition government.

The power of attraction of SYRIZA, which is flirting with both DIMAR and PASOK, can seriously loose the connections of the coalition government. The members of the Democratic Left are very close to the ideological foundations of SYRIZA. The fact is that Greece and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will face troubled times ahead and it depends on the unity of the cabinet whether or not the country will fall into a political vacuum again.

Tags: PoliticsScandalLagarde ListDemocratic LeftDisaffiliation
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