The holiday atmosphere in the Greek capital belies the tension brewing in Parliament.
MPs are set to vote on a multi-billion euro bailout deal. With opposition support it is expected to pass, but if those who break ranks with the ruling SYRIZA party are too numerous, snap elections could happen as early as September.
One Athens resident laments the disarray, saying “the government should have acted sooner. But they had to confront the problems inside their own party and so they were late and we got to this point. “
Earlier on Thursday, the former Energy Minister who leads the Left Platform within SYRIZA announced that he will help create a new anti-bailout movement.
SYRIZA MP Ioannis Stefos says that, “people still support the government as the recent polls show. They support Alexis Tsipras. But this support cannot last forever, for months, for years. We should prove that we are different than the previous governments.”
In Athens reporter Costas Tsellos sums up:
“A few hours before the crucial vote in the parliament, the government is trying to convince MP’s that the agreement with the creditors is the best possible. But the scenarios about snap elections are growing, and it seems that soon enough the government will have to convince the voters that the third bail out programme was necessary.”