ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is poised to easily win a vote of confidence from the Parliament his coalition controls, bolstered by the return to his New Democracy Conservatives of a lawmaker who had quit him.
Independent MP Nikitas Kaklamanis wrote Samaras a letter imploring to be brought back after walking away from the party in a huff after the lawmaker wouldn’t back a property tax bill. He was also upset when the Premier chase another candidate to run for Mayor of Athens over Kaklamanis, a former Mayor who ran away in defiance. He lost big time.
Samaras was out of the country attending a European Union leaders meeting confident that he’s easily prevail in the 300-member Parliament as New Democracy now has 127 votes and his partner the PASOK Socialists have 28, for 155 votes.
With nine members of the ultra far-right Golden Dawn in jail awaiting trial on charges of running a criminal gang, the government needs only 146 votes to prevail.
The vote at midnight on Oct. 10 will end three days of perfunctory debate with lawmakers from the ruling parties swapping shots with the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) which has taken a growing lead over New Democracy.
Samaras wants to gain some favor from voters besieged by austerity measures he imposed on orders of international lenders as well as boost his sagging image in the polls and turned to the device of a political gimmick he knew he would win.
He has timed the vote to coincide with an announcement he’ll make that he’s now going to cut taxes that he raised, although that doesn’t have the sign-off yet of the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) that put up 240 billion euros ($317 billion) in two bailouts but demanded harsh austerity in return.
Samaras is to deliver a closing address in Parliament that will focus largely on the government’s achievements over the last two years, a time when the quality of life for many Greeks diminished as big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings led to record unemployment and deep poverty which have shown few signs of abating.
Samaras is also expected to announce the details of the government’s new payment plan for taxpayers and businesses owing money to the state.