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Tension and discord in the ruling coalition

31 October 2012 / 23:10:24  GRReporter
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Tension and discord have come over the ruling triple coalition with the approaching vote on the new fiscal adjustment measures. The first sign of the split that could follow in the next week came with the vote on the introduction of a package of changes associated with the medium-term recovery programme, the privatizations and the liberalization of key economic sectors.

As expected, members of the radical left SYRIZA, Independent Greeks, the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and the extreme nationalists of Golden Dawn voted “against” any changes proposed by the coalition government.

The upper echelons of PASOK and Democratic Left refused to support the legalization of reforms as well. The leaders of two of the three parties in the government, Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis were absent from the vote on the package of changes, which political analysts interpret as a stab in the back for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras from New Democracy.

In addition to the fact that the proposed merger of the insurance fund of journalists was not adopted during the vote, problems have emerged with other proposed changes. The government failed to collect two votes in order to accept the change, according to which the engineers participating in the technical federation must pay a 2% annual fee for the maintenance of the union organization. The vote has demonstrated which sectors in Greece have serious political lobbies. There were 121 votes against the paragraph that affects engineers; 26 deputies abstained and 126 deputies supported it. The main force that exercised an influence on not accepting this article was the parliamentary group of PASOK.

Under the rules of the National Assembly, in order for a text to be adopted, it must collect 50 +1 votes of those present in the plenary hall. The members present at the Wednesday voting numbered 293, which means that each article of a package of changes must collect a minimum of 128 votes in order to be adopted.

The vote on the change associated with public enterprises is considered a small victory. The new law eliminates the mandatory minimum percentage of state ownership of the Public Power Corporation (DEI), Hellenic Petroleum, the state lottery OPAP, the companies that manage municipal waters, Greek Post, the ports of Piraeus, Alexandroupoli, Thessaloniki, Volos, Elefsina, Igoumenitsa , Heraklion, Kavala, Corfu, Patras, Rafina and Lavrio. This opens the way for the government to privatize key infrastructure points, which are considered one of the strongest cards of the privatization programme. 11 members of the PASOK parliamentary group either voted against or abstained this change.

It is obvious that PASOK is starting to seriously shake and many of the members of the Socialist Party voiced doubts about whether the party should continue its support to the present government. The group of deputies who refuse to support different points of the current recovery programme of the local economy is not small and the situation in the party has become increasingly reminiscent of the fable about the eagle, the crab and the pike.

To calm the spirits, the leader of PASOK has convened this week a general assembly of the party, which must either resolve the disagreements or start disaffiliations. The most serious opponents of the current form of political power are its old members, who have held various ministerial posts over the past years, led by Kostas Skandalidis. It is not yet known whether Venizelos could manage to master the rising resentment.

Tags: PoliticsChangesReformsDisaffiliationsGreece
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