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Internal Disagreements Within SYRIZA After Bridge-Program Deal

The 12-hour meeting of the SYRIZA parliamentary group was marked by serious disagreements over the Eurogroup deal on Tuesday that extends the bailout program for another four months.
The loudest disagreements came from Minister of Productive Reconstruction Panagiotis Lafazanis and House President Zoe Konstantopoulou. The so-called left platform of SYRIZA questioned the reforms proposed by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, claiming that many points are, in essence, nothing more than an extension of the existing memorandum of understanding.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked his parliamentary group to vote. According to reports, 20 MPs voted against the agreement or cast a blank vote. Other reports say the number of those who disagree with the deal reaches 35 MPs. State Minister Alekos Flabouraris said on national television today that 18 SYRIZA members voted “blank” or “against,” but clarified that if there was an official House ballot, there wouldn’t be more than 3-4 MPs who would cast the same vote.
Analysts say that the real headache of Alexis Tsipras is the Lafazanis “blank” vote and the Konstantopoulou “against” vote.
Konstantopoulou and Dimitris Mitropoulos expressed grave concern that the new agreement would bring certain unfavorable obligations for Greece. Ioanna Gaitanis and Eleni Psareas also voted against the agreement with international creditors. Along with Lafazanis, the above MPs are against the proposal for the agreement to go for ratification in parliament.
It is not certain that the agreement will be tabled in the House for ratification. However, the opposition is pressing for the deal to go for ratification. The government’s decision on the issue is expected within the next few days.
The criticism from the left platform focused on certain points of the proposed list of reforms. It also emphasized the fact that the negotiating team did not brief the parliamentary group before the Eurogroup.
Lafazanis said that there are certain points in the list of reforms that resemble the terminology used by Greece’s lenders. Stathis Leoutsakos said that some of the proposals resemble oracles, as “creditors can interpret them any way they want.”
Rachel Makri said that she would vote “present” if she was there. Speaking to Mega television, the SYRIZA MP said that she left before the end of the 12-hour meeting. However, she claimed, “I wasn’t given enough time to study the agreement. The text was distributed in the morning but protocol says that Mr. Varoufakis should have delivered it to me in person.” She concluded that there were no serious disagreements within the parliamentary group, but some members expressed their concern if the measures can be applied or not.

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