Wednesday, 21 August, 2019


Greece's Tsipras on the Brink as Confidence Vote Looms This Week

Greece's Tsipras on the Brink as Confidence Vote Looms This Week Greece's Tsipras on the Brink as Confidence Vote Looms This Week
Bennie Garza | 14 January, 2019, 16:16

Greece's conservative defence minister, who leads the junior partner in the country's coalition government, has resigned over the Macedonia name deal, which he opposes. Parliamentary elections are scheduled in October but local media speculate that polls could be held in May, coinciding with European parliament and local elections, or even sooner.

Mr Tsipras's party has 145 seats in the 300-seat Parliament.

Macedonia's parliament voted on January 11 to ratify changes to the constitution called for in connection with the agreement, which now needs backing from the Greek lawmakers to come into effect.

"I thanked the prime minister for the cooperation and I explained to him that for this national issue we can not continue", he said, adding that his Independent Greeks party "is pulling out of the government".

As promised, the country's main opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, boycotted the vote, although a number of its now expelled members broke ranks to support the plans of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's government to take the country into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union, assuming Greek objections are ultimately lifted and Athens ratifies the deal.

The freakish political row centres around the tiny country of Macedonia's new name - the Republic of North Macedonia.

Tsipras hopes to rely on lawmakers from the small pro-EU To Potami (The River) party to get the agreement approved, while some of ANEL's lawmakers also remain ambivalent to the deal.

Calling an early election has its pitfalls, as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May can attest.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday said he would call a confidence vote in his government after his coalition ally quit, leaving him bereft of a parliamentary majority and raising the possibility of snap elections.

Tsipras has said a separate vote on a protocol to enable Macedonia to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would be held "not long afterwards".

Panos Kammenos announced his resignation after meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday morning.

"Our parliament found the strength but it wasn't easy". Panos Kammenos' exit could endanger the ruling coalition government ahead of national elections.

Zaev said on January 12 that the lawmakers had "made history", adding: "I know how hard that was".

"Within 10 days... if we see everything is in order, we will vote", Tsipras said on Friday evening.

And, he concluded, Macedonia is a name intrinsically linked with the Greek culture, which recalls the triumphs of the era of warrior king Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia. A longstanding dispute between the two countries led to the move, because a region of Greece bordering the Macedonian republic is also called Macedonia.

A spokesperson for the governing Social Democrats said the ethnic Albanian legislators also agreed to back the deal.

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