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Samaras Survives Censure Vote in Greek Parliament

Vouli_budgetAs expected, as the government controls a bare majority of Parliament, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras‘ Conservative-led coalition government won’t have to face the prospect of new elections after lawmakers, by a margin of 153-124 voted against a motion of censure brought by opposition parties angry over a riot police raid that evicted former workers at the closed national broadcaster ERT. Seventeen voted present.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Syntagma Square in Central Athens ahead of the vote which began after midnight on Nov. 10 and came after more than two days of fierce debate that became a contest of arguments on austerity being imposed on the orders of international lenders.
The final tally came in shortly after 1 a.m. on Nov. 11 and was perfunctory as the coalition government, which has 155 members, orders them how to vote under threat of being removed from their parties unless they follow orders.
Tension was high with political rivals slinging mud and barbs at each other with government critics blaming Samaras, the New Democracy leader, and his partner for all the country’s ills real or imagined, and the ruling parties accusing their opponents of being shameless populists. Yiannis Dragasakis, a prominent SYRIZA deputy, earlier told the House that his party’s censure motion was “not only our right but an act of democratic responsibility.”
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos told his MPs earlier that the call for a no-confidence vote on the government constituted an “act of irresponsibility against the nation.”
The Democratic Left, which was the third party in the coalition until quitting in June over the ERT shut-down, said its 14 MPs would vote “present” because it doesn’t want to take a stand, a usual tactic of the party.

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