Tsipras Prepares for Confidence Vote as Opposition Rips Minister

(Bloomberg) -- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is set to survive yet another challenge in the country’s parliament, where lawmakers will cast ballots this week in the fifth confidence vote since he came to power in 2015.

Opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the New Democracy party requested a censure motion against Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis, after he launched an attack on Twitter against Stelios Kympouropoulos, a New Democracy candidate for the May 26 European Parliament elections.

Tsipras Prepares for Confidence Vote as Opposition Rips Minister

Tsipras decided to turn that motion into a confidence vote for the full government in order to protect his minister, even as other government members criticized Polakis’s comments. Debate is scheduled to begin May 8. The vote in parliament will take place late on May 10.

Polakis said that Kympouropoulos, who has spinal muscular disease and is confined to a wheelchair, was able to secure a job in the public sector as a psychiatrist only because of a law to help people with disabilities.

With Tsipras’s term due to end in September and the country in election mode prior to the European Parliament vote in May, tensions between the prime minister’s Syriza party and New Democracy are on the rise. While the premier likely has enough votes to survive the confidence motion, his popularity is lagging in opinion polls.

In the run-up to the elections, the government is trying to create a package of measures that will offer some relief to those Greeks who suffered the most during the economic crisis.

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