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Greece’s Mitsotakis Faces No-Confidence Vote in Parliament

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis
Mitsotakis is being challenged for his government’s handling of the Tempe disaster. Credit: AMNA

Greece’s conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis is facing a no-confidence vote in parliament after five opposition parties joined forces to table the motion last week. The ruling New Democracy has accepted the challenge.

The vote was triggered by allegations that audio recordings related to the deadly Tempe train collision were tampered with before being leaked to the media.

It was first the socialist PASOK that demanded a non-confidence vote, while main opposition SYRIZA asked for a no-confidence vote, the resignation of the Prime Minister, and early elections.

The no-confidence vote is supported also by New Left, communist KKE and nationalist Greek Solution.

Allegations of tampered audio spark political turmoil in Greece

The move came after a report in the newspaper To Vima on Sunday claimed that conversations between the Larissa station master—the one closest to the site of the Tempe train crash—the trains’ drivers, and other persons had been stitched together and offered to pro-government media to give the impression the deadly accident was due exclusively to human error.

“It is infuriating that at a time when 57 people lost their lives in an unjust and tragic way, when their families were grieving and millions of Greeks were thinking that their own children could be on the fatal train, some persons had as priority to remove the conversations of the station master in question, to alter them and feed them to friendly media to boost the narrative of human error,” PASOK Leader Nikos Androulakis said.

Main opposition leader Stefanos Kasselakis of SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance called on Prime Minister Mitsotakis to resign “so Greece can be led in an orderly manner to democratic elections.”

Government spokesperson Pavlos Marinakis expressed his surprise at how soon the opposition had reacted to the newspaper’s publication and responded that justice had the entire original conversations before the accident, provided through the Hellenic Police criminal unit.

“It is now becoming obvious that this antigovernment campaign based on a national tragedy and using the cynical manipulation of pain was nothing but part of an effort to destabilize Greece itself,” Marinakis said.

What do the parties imply? he asked. “That there is no personal responsibility but it’s ‘generally’ the government’s fault?” Marinakis said. “Greece will not return to times of uncertainty and blackmail by powerful interests and party motives.”

No-confidence vote against Mitsotakis set to begin

According to the Greek constitution, the submission of a motion of no confidence against the government needs the signatures of 1/6 of the 300 deputies in total, that is 50 MPs’ signatures.

The debate on the motion of confidence or no confidence begins two days after the submission of the relevant motion, unless the government, in the case of a motion of no confidence, requests that the debate begin immediately, which cannot be extended beyond three days from its start.

The vote on the motion of confidence or no-confidence is held immediately after the debate ends, but it can be postponed for forty-eight hours if the government so requests.

A motion of no confidence is accepted only if an absolute majority of the entire number of deputies approves it.

Even if all opposition parties join forces, their 142 MPs are not enough to pass the motion—unless, some ND lawmakers vote in favor or abstain.

Related: Maria Karystianou, the ‘Mother of Tempe’, Upends Greek Politics

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