For three days, 8-10 May, Greek politics will be focused on a vote of confidence that will be held on 10 May
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has invoked his parliamentary right to turn New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ no-confidence motion against his alternate health minister Pavlos Polakis into a vote of confidence in the government.
In yet another move to turn the tables, Tsipras said that he and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos will table a package of social benefits and favourable measures for delinquent taxpayers to pay their debt in 120 instalments.
The government will essentially use the three-day debate on the confidence vote to showcase it social policies.
New Democracy will hammer the government over Polakis, its responsibilities in mismanaging last summer’s Mati wildfire that claimed 101 lives, and its involvement in the case of Manolis Petsitis, who appears to have enriched himself by using his contacts with Tsipras’ right-hand man, Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas, and the PM’s office.
New Democracy tabled the no confidence motion when Polakis attacked its European Parliament candidate Stelios Kimbouropoulos, a psychiatrist who is paraplegic, because he used affirmative action (he was examined repeatedly nonetheless) to land a job as an attendant doctor at a state hospital and dared to say in the social media that disabled people do not want gifts, favours, or extra points in getting a state job but rather equal opportunity.
Symbol of the government’s moral turpitude
New Democracy is highlighting Polakis’ misdeeds to underscore what it views as the government’s moral turpitude. The minister surreptitiously recorded and threatened Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras that he would stage a sit-in at the office of the central banker if he did not investigate the finances of the political parties and individuals that the minister demanded.
‘Put some people in jail’
Months earlier, Polakis has told a SYRIZA party gathering that the government will have to put some people [who have committed economic crimes] in jail if it wants to win the next general election.
Mitsotakis and other top MP cadres are stressing that Polakis who is known for his vulgarity and Tsipras who covers for him are one and the same thing.
In tabling the no-confidence motion Mitsotakis asked SYRIZA MPs whether they too are like Polakis. “Are you with the many or are you with the Polakises SYRIZA colleagues?” he asked.
He called the minister a “thug” in his oration in which he referred to the Kimbouropoulos affair.
“In any country in the civilised world a no-confidence motion would not have been necessary because in similar circumstances the minister woud have been ousted. Pavlos Polakis’ authoritarianism is facsism and a democratic Parliament has a duty to condemn it,” Mitsotakis said.
“Tsipras not only hastened to cover for Polakis, he also identified with him. By calling him a blunt person from Sfakia (an area in Crete known for the bravery of its men) he insulted all Cretans. Cretan bravery has nothing to do with the cowardly thug Pavlos Polakis,” the ND leader declared.