Here's How Tsipras Could Get Backing He Needs in Confidence Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Alexis Tsipras just might pull off another great escape when he faces a confidence vote in the Greek parliament on Wednesday.

With his Syriza party holding 145 of the Greek chamber’s 300 seats, Prime Minister Tsipras will need six additional votes to win the confidence measure and extend his stay in power, after his coalition broke down over a deal on a new name for neighboring Republic of Macedonia.

The prime minister should be able to count on help from four former allies in Panos Kammenos’s Independent Greeks party, plus one independent lawmaker, and one member of the Potami party.

Kammenos, who joined Tsipras in an unlikely coalition after his party won seven seats in the 2015 national elections, pulled out of the government Sunday and asked his lawmakers not to support the premier in the confidence measure.

Tourism Minister and Independent Greeks lawmaker Elena Kountoura said Monday she’ll back the government in the Wednesday vote, making her the first of Kammenos’s parliamentary group to defy their party leader, and Deputy Agricultural Minister Vassilis Kokkalis later confirmed that he, too, will support Tsipras. Both were immediately expelled from the parliamentary group.

Tsipras, whose party rose to power amid strong resentment against bailout-imposed austerity, has proven to be Greece’s most resilient politician through an eight-year financial crisis. He has already survived three confidence motions, the most recent in June, and won two elections and a referendum in 2015 alone.

Winning the vote this week would give Tsipras some leeway on the timing of Greece’s next national elections. With his partner gone, but with adequate support in parliament, he could consider calling elections around next autumn, when his term expires. He could then also push ahead with economic legislation including a proposal to raise the minimum wage. Losing the confidence vote would force a return to the polls as soon as May.

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