In the House’s summer session, 51 of the 100 MPs voted in favor of the creation and sale of the so-called “Small DEI,” which consists of 30 percent of the Public Power Company which has the monopoly of electrical power in Greece . One MP voted “present” (Nikitas Kaklamanis) and another 46 opposed the legislation, the passing of which was one of the six prior actions the government had to fulfill to receive a further 1-billion-euro tranche of Greece ‘s bailout loan. Now opposition parties are ready to deliver their proposals to hold a referendum.
SYRIZA failed in its bid to get the minimum of 120 MPs needed to back such a proposal but the opposition parties argue that even if separate requests are submitted, the MPs signatures should be aggregated. Independent Greeks wasted no time in submitting their proposal on Wednesday, doing so right after the vote was completed.
The other opposition parties, including SYRIZA, are expected to deliver their requests on Thursday. It will then be up to Parliament’s Scientific Service, a team of experts that advises House Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis, to decide whether the number of MPs backing disparate proposals can be polled together. The process is made even more complicated by the fact that SYRIZA and the Communist Party (KKE) have made it clear that they do not want the votes of Golden Dawn MPs to be added to theirs.
The expression of support from the independents prompted Syriza, which also has the support of Independent Greeks and the majority of Democratic Left, to push its demand for a referendum. So far Syriza has the backing of around 108 MPs, just short of the minimum of 120 needed for a discussion on a referendum to begin. But, according to sources, SYRIZA is confident it can reach the minimum by counting in the MPs of the Communist Party (KKE), which has said it wants a referendum on the privatization of the electricity sector in general.
Golden Dawn has also said it will lodge its own proposal for a referendum on DEI but SYRIZA does not want to be associated with the neo-nazi party. MP Sophia Voultepsi insisted on Tuesday that separate proposals should not be counted together. “It is certain that they cannot be added up,” she said. “So there is no real point to any further discussion.” New Democracy’s parliamentary spokesman Adonis Georgiadis on Wednesday described SYRIZA’s referendum proposal over the “small PPC” as a “firework.”
Mr. Georgiadis told ANA-MPA that “SYRIZA with the referendum firework has partly managed to avoid the real discussion over PPC. On one side, it says we must be part of the EU and the Euro zone, therefore we accept the relevant laws on the energy deregulation and the entering of the private sector in the market and on the other, it says electricity is a public good and should belong to the state.”
“I think we have given too much thought to a tactic move and we have given it the chance to move away from what really matters: that SYRIZA has a major political and ideological issue over PPC,” he added. Mr. Georgiadis believes that the argument that “the Parliament’s President is in conflict with Maximos Mansion” has nothing to do with reality.
Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis on Wednesday responded to main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras’ criticism over Public Power Corporation (PPC) citing the government’s “patriotic duty.” Maniatis accused SYRIZA for not participating in a dialogue and rejecting everything. He also stressed that consensus cannot be unbalanced.
“The deputies supporting the government are not dominated by fear. Instead of fear, the feeling of patriotic duty prevails,” the minister said. In reaction to Tsipras’ accusations of selling off PPC, Maniatis pointed out that the price of the sale is not his own decision, but it is determined by an independent, internationally renowned evaluator that will set a fair value.