Alexis Tsipras Survives Confidence Vote by One Vote

(sub-titled either ‘Greeks bearing gifts to NATO, or ‘Everything you never wanted to learn about the Macedonian name change’ .)

From the greekreportercom, Jan. 16:

“The Prime Minster survived the late-night confidence vote by just one vote, 151 voted “yes” opposed to 148 who voted “no”.

Tsipras called for the confidence vote on Sunday after his junior coalition partner the ANEL party pulled out, plunging the country into fresh political turmoil and fueling speculation about possible snap elections.

In an impassioned speech to Parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Tsipras appealed for a renewal of confidence, declaring that his administration had extracted Greece from its international bailouts and still had work to do.

The leader of the conservative New Democracy Party, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is far ahead of the Syriza party in opinion polls, called the coalition breakup a “staged divorce,” designed to keep the current government in power. The vote of confidence should be granted by the Greek people themselves, he said, and through elections, “here and now.”

Tsipras has insisted that his minority government would remain in power until October, when its four-year term is due to end.

Analysts believe, however, that he is likely to call elections earlier. They underline the difficulties a minority government would have in passing legislation and the likely concomitant negative impact on financial markets.”

My bolded portion above is referencing the fact that the unicameral Hellenic Parliament of 300 members acted as ‘the voters’.

According to keeptalkinggreece.com on Jan. 17, Mitsotakis had also:

“…accused Tsipras of imposing austerity to the Greek people. In another argument, he said that “vote of confidence means also vote for the Prespes Agreement.”

The leader of conservative New Democracy is a fierce opponent of the deal with FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia) – at least, in his public speeches – and said that if ND comes to power it will renegotiate the Prespes Agreement.

After the FYROM Parliament ratified the country’s name change into “North Macedonia”, now the ratification is in Athens court.”

(click for larger)

“With 145 seats in Parliament, SYRIZA could pass the Agreement through. However, the Prime Minister has set the threshold at 151 votes, hoping again to win the support of the no-Syriza lawmakers.”

On Jan. 19 ‘“Prespes ratification is a patriotic duty,” says Tsipras as thousands ready for protest rally’

“The Prespes Agreement a(n) historic step” for both countries and its ratification is a “patriotic duty,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an interview on Saturday, as the government tables the Agreement to the Greek Parliament and thousands of Greeks prepare for the big anti-Macedonia rally in Athens on Sunday.

Tabling the Agreement to the Parliament for ratification, the Greek government sets the wheels of this thorny issue in motion.

The draft law enshrines and brings into force the agreement signed at Prespes between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on 17 June 2018.

Citing government sources, Greek state news agency amna reports that Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis’ intention is the process to move comfortably. The details of the procedure will be discussed at the parliament presidents meeting on Monday at 12:00. Later on the days, at 17:00, the draft law will be introduced to the parliament’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.

The vote on the Prespes Agreement is expected to be held until Friday 25 January. Draft Law in English here

The Prespes Agreement has polarized the political landscape and thousands of Greeks from across the country are getting ready to get on chartered buses and private vehicles for the big rally to protest the Prespes Agreement.

The rally is scheduled to take place at Syntagma square, opposite the Parliament, will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan 20.

Organizers of the “Greekness of Macedonia” estimate that more than 3,000 buses full with protesters will join their forces in Athens.”

“According to one poll to by published by a Sunday newspaper, 66% of Greeks say NO to Prespes Agreement.”

Now part of the Prespes agreement states that FRYOM will be known as Republic of Macedonia, or North Macedonia for short.  The name change by some mechanism or other, will allow N. Macedonia entry into both the EU and…NATO, so small wonder:

From the dailyhellas.com, Jan. 16, 2019: ‘Putin on Prespes agreement: The will of the people has been overlooked’

“As for the situation in the Balkans, a serious destabilizing factor there is the policy of the US and some other Western countries aimed at securing their dominance in the region,” he told the Serbian Vecernje Novosti newspaper in an interview published on the Kremlin website.

The Balkans are often cast as a battleground between Eastern and Western powers, though all countries in the region aspire to join the European Union and most are already allied with NATO.

However, Serbia, while also an EU candidate, remains a staunch Moscow ally and is set to welcome Putin with a parade on Thursday.

The two countries share Slavic roots and the Orthodox Christian faith, which Putin described as their “spiritual and cultural kinship”.

The US, a strong ally to Kosovo, has frequently accused Russia of meddling in the affairs of the region, including in last year’s referendum in FYROM to change its name, a prerequisite for joining NATO.

Putin, however, accused the West of pressuring FYROM and Montenegro, a new NATO candidate, against the will of their people.

The NATO expansion efforts are drawing “new dividing lines on the European continent,” he told the newspaper Politika.

‘Koutsoumbas: Under No Circumstances Will the KKE Vote for the Prespes Agreement’, idcommunism.com., Jan 12, 2010. Sorry, none of it will copy, but small wonder the KKE is against it.

From en.prothema.gr, ‘Mount Athos monks call for referendum on Prespes Agreement’, Jan, 17 2019

“The monks of Mount Athos, which is located on the Chalkidiki peninsula in Macedonia, northern Greece, issued a statement after their meeting expressing their unequivocal objection to the deal, which is expected to be debated in Greek parliament next week.

“We are appealing to members of the Greek Parliament, even at the final hour, to not move forward with the ratification of the Agreement before a referendum is held”, an excerpt of the announcement read.
In another part of the announcement, the monks argue accepting the deal would mean Greece concedes the historic name “Macedonia” to a neighbouring country with all the implications such a move would entail.”

“The announcement reiterated that Mount Athos considered the recognition of a “Macedonian language” and a “Macedonian nationality” a contempt to historical truth.”

Jan. 20, greekreporter.com: ‘Clashes Erupt After Macedonia Rally in Athens’, with photos and video:

“Protesters clashed with riot police outside Greece’s Parliament on Sunday afternoon, following a rally in Syntagma Square against the Prespa Agreement.

Witnesses who uploaded videos and pictures on social media stated that members of the police force guarding the Greek Parliament made extensive use of tear gas to push back the demonstrators, who threw objects at them and tried to enter the Parliament.”

“Before these (rock throwing) incidents, the rally against the Prespa Agreement was peaceful, with thousands of people attending, among which prominent members of the Greek opposition, such as the former Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras.

The demonstrators showed their opposition to the upcoming parliamentary vote on the deal that was reached between Greece and FYROM in July 2018 and demanded a referendum.”

On Jan. 15 school teachers protested new hiring procedures and ‘clashed’ with riot police.

You may be interested in reading the eye-blinking ‘Greece’s Public Debt on the Rise’, greekreporter, Jan. 21 and/or ‘Knossos, Royal Tombs of Vergina among 587 monuments Greece will privatize, keeptalkinggreece.com, Jan. 18, 2019

“The Association of Greek Archaeologists published on Friday, a list with 587 monuments that has identified until 2. Nov 2018 as those monuments that need to be excluded from privatization.”

“Last autumn, the AGA had denounced that Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos had transferred the state ownership of a total 10,119 archaeological sites and historical monuments to the Super Privatization Fund.

For background about more privatizations and Greeks bearing gifts, Son of Nato, etc., see my (cough) rather strident Feb. 2018 compilation here.

Now raw story had said that NATO had planned to hold the coming 70th anniversary in DeeCee, but canceled it…due to the anonymous military insiders who claimed that DT was still agitating to…get out of the Nato ‘peace organization’, as they call it.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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wendy davis's picture

'Greek and Skopjian diaspora united in condemnation of Prespes agreement', neoskosmos.com, jan 20:

"After more than 25 years and countless of rounds of UN-mediated talks, the governments of Greece and the FYROM finally announced they had agreed to end the row over what to call the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, coming up with the compromise name of “Republic of Northern Macedonia”.

Australian groups representing the interests of Skopje and Athens are disappointed with this decision. They may desire polar opposite results, but they are on the same page as far as their condemnation of the Prespes agreement is concerned. And it is clear that both Macedonian Australian Pride, representing the interests of FYROM and the Greek Pan-Macedonian Association for Melbourne and Victoria (PMAMV) would like to see the agreement scrapped."

sorry to be hogging the comments again. ; ) but i will note that at the guardian europe news, i checked 3 pages worth, and not One article about greece, 'the cradle of democracy'.

so for a closing song i'll bring lyle lovett. if you've ever performed in a bar, this is the most pleasant view of what it's like when the music's over and ya gotta pack everything up to go home. ; )

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wendy davis's picture

interestingly enough, there are several comments on the café version, one from a greek who lives on the gorgeous and historical island of aegina, and as i understand it, he's all for the prespes agreement. the other is a kiwi expat, who thinks the objections are a bit incomprehensible, as i understand her. but oh, my, is the greek naming dispute complicated issue with a very long history, as per wikipedia (who knows who and/or how many wrote the entry?)

but from keeptalking greece today: ‘Prespes Agreement approved by Committee of Greek Parliament’, January 22, 2019

"Discussion in the parliament plenary will begin on Wednesday and continue past midnight on Thursday, to Friday morning, when the voting will take place.
The Prespes Agreement has triggered a fierce political conflict not only of the coalition government that saw its junior partner ANEL go away. Small opposition parties of the progressive wing saw also a loss of lawmakers as the latter decided to vote in favor or against the Agreement despite the party leadership to have ruled otherwise."

also from KTgreece, aug. 2018: ‘Varoufakis explodes: “Greece was never bailed out, it remains a debtor’s prison”

““Greece was never bailed out – it remains a debtor’s prison and the EU won’t let go of the keys,” writes former SYRIZA finance minister Yanis Varoufakis on the occasion of creditors and the Greke government to have cheered the exit from bailout.
• Punitive conditions attached to the ‘rescue’ package mean the Greek financial tragedy may never end.
In an opinion article on UK’s The Guardian, Varoufakis highlights among others that:
• Having put Greece into a permanent coma, EU-IMF declared it “stability”. They pushed our people off a cliff & celebrated their bounce off the hard rock of a great depression as proof of “recovery”. To quote Tacitus, they made a desert and called it peace.
• The truth about the ‘end of Greece‘s bailout: Ridiculous VAT and small business tax rates. Fresh pension cuts & new punitive income tax rates for the poorest scheduled for 2019. A permanent budget target = harsh austerity (that the IMF thinks unattainable

Over the past week, the world’s media have been proclaiming the successful completion of the Greek financial rescue programme mounted in 2010 by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Headlines celebrated the end of Greece’s bailout, even the termination of austerity.

Buoyant reports from ground zero of the eurozone crisis portrayed Europe’s eight-year long Greek intervention as a paradigm of judicious European solidarity with its black sheep; a case of “tough love” that, reportedly, worked."

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wendy davis's picture

"Now raw story had said that NATO had planned to hold the coming 70th anniversary in DeeCee, but canceled it…due to the anonymous military insiders who claimed that DT was still agitating to…get out of the Nato ‘peace organization’, as they call it."

it was the whispered news that caused the mueller team to open a 'counter-intelligence' (or was it 'counter-terrorism' investigation into Boss Tweet of the Trigger Finger. and of course, all he'd ever really wanted was for members to pony up their 2% gdp.

believing the story to be true, the house just fixed His Wagon!

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