Can Greece’s Prime Minister Survive the Upcoming Confidence Vote?
(Bloomberg) -- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who’s survived multiple elections, a disastrous referendum and previous confidence votes, will put his resilience to the test in a new confidence motion in parliament Wednesday, after his coalition partner withdrew support over a deal with the Republic of Macedonia to resolve a dispute about its name.
1. Will Tsipras survive the confidence vote?
Tsipras needs 151 votes in Greece’s 300-seat chamber to assure his government’s survival. With his Syriza party’s 145 seats, plus four likely votes from rebel members of ex-coalition partner Independent Greeks, one from independent lawmaker Katerina Papakosta and one from Potami lawmaker Spyros Danellis, it looks like Tsipras has the numbers, barely, to keep his administration going.
2. What happens if he loses?
If Tsipras fails to garner enough support, the pressure will be on to call new elections, though a new vote is not triggered automatically in the event of a defeat on a confidence measure. Tsipras maintains that he won’t call a new election before the government passes legislation including protections for homeowners and a higher minimum wage.
3. Would a confidence vote defeat kill the Macedonia deal?
No. Even if Tsipras loses the vote, the Macedonia deal will still get its day in parliament, and despite emotional rhetoric from nationalists, the opportunity to resolve a decade-long dispute with Greece’s neighbor, largely on Greek terms, has gained popularity virtually across the political spectrum.
4. When will Greece hold national elections?
The government’s term expires in September. If he wins the confidence vote, Tsipras can call new elections for as late as October. However, he may find that governing without an actual majority is untenable, leading to a new vote, possibly in May, when European and local government elections are already scheduled.
5. Who will win the next elections?
Polls show that Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s New Democracy would be the winner, but it’s unclear whether Mitsotakis can secure the majority needed to form a government without having to seek alliances. With parliament next year set to choose a new president -- which requires a super-majority of 180 votes -- the risk of a new political crisis and fresh elections is high.
6. What’s at stake?
Europe’s ability to cast Greece as anything resembling a success story could be at risk in a scenario of a drawn-out election season and a return to political instability. The economy remains fragile and a minority government would struggle to get parliamentary approval for needed reforms, including privatizations.
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