Tossed out of the PASOK Socialists for defying orders to vote against a censure motion brought against Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader, by the major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA,) lawmaker Theodora Tzakri says she has no plans to join the rivals despite her unhappiness with her former party.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who serves as Samaras’ titular Deputy Prime Minister and also as Foreign Minister, ejected Tzakri after she was the only coalition MP to vote against the government in the no-confidence vote in Parliament, even though that reduced the government’s majority to only four seats in the 300-member body.
Tzakri, whose political enemies immediately attacked her on sexism grounds for wearing expensive high heels in an apparent attempt to belittle her significance, said to ANT-1 TV that, “If I’d wanted to go to SYRIZA, I would have left from 2011 and would have found it much easier to be reelected in 2012.”
She had followed Venizelos’ orders on how to vote until the censure motion and he derided her as a hypocrite for changing her mind, although he did too when he abandoned his opposition to the firing of workers at the former state broadcaster ERT and was rewarded with plum positions in the government.
It was Samaras’ orders for riot police to oust the former workers at the station that led SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to bring the censure motion that was easily defeated, with only 124 votes in favor.
Tzakri’s comment comes after Venizelos hit out at Tsipras for suggesting that coalition MPs unhappy with the government’s policy would be welcomed by the leftist party. “It proves his tragic lack of parliamentary and democratic morals,” Venizelos told Ta Nea newspaper.
After she was booted, Tzakri said the New Democracy-PASOK coalition of ideological rivals who support austerity measures ordered by international lenders had a “democratic deficit.” While she voted for the no-confidence motion another PASOK member, Nikitas Kaklamanis, who stayed away from the vote, suffered no disciplinary action.
Tzakri was defiant after the vote and ejection. “My fellow citizens put their trust in me so I would confront the serious problems, not to rubber stamp e-mails from our lenders,” said Tzakri in a statement, although she always had until the no-confidence measure, including pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings.
“This government is characterized by a surfeit of social harshness, incapability, a democratic deficit and lack of plan to exit the crisis,” she said. With her ejection, the once-powerful PASOK party, lingering at about 5 percent in recent polls, has shrunk to 27 MPs, six fewer than elected in 2012 as Venizelos has kicked out half a dozen for refusing his orders on how to vote and other reasons. The coalition has lost 10 altogether.
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