Battles were fought inside and outside the Greek parliament as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras worked to convince MPs of the merits of a third potential bailout plan for Greece – this time to the tune of 86 billion euros.
In between violent protests on Syntagma Square, parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly in favour of the reforms, however Tsipras’ ruling radical left coalition was deeply divided.
The leader faces revolt within his own party, which raises questions about his political future.
“A national election won’t really be necessary if the mainstream political parties get together and find some common ground,” political analyst Maria Karaklioumi said. “Then we can either continue with this government, or alternatively, form a national multi-party coalition.”
Of 39 Syriza MPs who distanced themselves from the deal, 32 voted outright against the bailout measures, 6 voted ‘present’ (neither for nor against) and one abstained.
Voula Kehagia, Columnist for Ta Nea newspaper, enlarged on the consequences of the vote.
“Prime Minister Tsipras has a serious cohesion issue in his government, as well as a deep division in his party,” she explained. “For the moment and until the agreement with the lenders is finalised, he will deal with neither, as the economy is the top priority for him. Afterwards, however, I believe disagreements inside the Syriza party will be inevitable.”
At the very least, a government reshuffle is anticipated. However, the dissent within Tsipras’ government has given rise to speculation general elections could be held – perhaps as soon as September.
Our correspondent Giannisis Stamatis sent this report from Athens:
“Despite the defection of about a quarter of his own MPs – and with a lot of help from the Opposition – Alexis Tsipras won the most crucial parliament vote since becoming prime minister. The question is, whether or not he’ll be able to repeat this feat in a weeks time when the Greek National Assembly will be called to vote – this time in detail – on the latest austerity measures.”