Greek vote

Ticking the first box in the process towards bailout negotiations. The support of opposition parties in today’s vote should be ample enough to compensate for possible defections from the government alliance front. Post the vote political developments will have Tsipras acting first.

Today, at midnight, the Greek parliament will vote on both the overall plan and on the set of preliminary measures agreed in the Euro summit meeting on Monday. This will be the first step in the process towards the start of negotiations for a third bailout programme.

The deal, hardly fitting the result of the popular vote in the recent referendum, has received a lot of criticism in Greece, spurring protests which will materialise today in the strike of the public workers’ union ADEDY and in partial closures of pharmacies.

The draft bill of pre-requisite measures was submitted to the Greek Parliament yesterday afternoon. It consists of three chapters: the first one ratifies the Euro summit decision, the second includes measures affecting taxation (VAT, luxury tax, corporate tax, farmers’ tax), and the third deals with social insurance measures, among which is meant to curb early retirement.

How have Greek political parties been positioning themselves in the run-up to the vote (MPs endowment in brackets)?

SYRIZA (149 MPs) – The parliamentary group of Syriza met yesterday morning to discuss the deal. The Left Platform, the radical wing of Syriza, which had recently openly declared in favour of Grexit, will likely vote against. As of yesterday afternoon, press reports indicated that, while at least 30 out of the 149 MPs could indeed vote against, the majority of Syriza’s lawmakers had sided with Tsipras to vote in favour.

ANEL (Independent Greeks) (13 MPs) – Syriza’s junior government coalition partner. Panos Kammenos, the party leader, and defence minister in the current government, announced yesterday that his party would continue to support the government and the prime minister, but that would only vote for the measures that were agreed upon in the recent council meeting of political leaders. He also remained unclear about the next developments, reportedly dismissing the idea of taking part in any national solidarity government.

ND (76 MPs) – The party’s provisional president, Evangelos Meimerakis has been prudent, but ND seems geared towards voting for the approval of the deal and the pre-requisite measures.

To Potami (17 MPs) – In a statement yesterday, the centrist, pro-Euro party committed to vote in favour of the plan.

PASOK (13 MPs) – Fofi Gennimata, the recently elected new leader of PASOK, announced yesterday that PM Tsipras can rely on the support of the 13 PASOK MPs for today’s vote.

A majority of 151 out of 300 will be needed for the bill to pass.

Based on the above considerations, the broad support to the agreement pledged by the moderate opposition parties should in principle make up for any foreseeable defections in the government alliance front.

Should defections among the majority ranks indeed require external support to build a parliamentary majority, the very nature of the current government coalition could be in for a change. True, Tsipras might still try to ask dissenters to resign from their parliamentary seats and replace them, proposing a refreshed version of the current majority without the more radical wing, but this might be far-fetched. Alternatively, a national solidarity government solution could be looming. In this perspective, opposition party leaders have so far refrained from making clear commitments about their possible moves, making in some cases timid openings to provide qualified personnel without joining the coalition. In principle, they are all keeping their hands free, waiting for PM Tsipras to move first after the vote.

For more information, please contact:

Paolo Pizzoli Senior Economist Italy, Greece, Portugal
Milan +39 02 552262468
paolo.pizzoli@ing.it

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