Tsipras survives no-confidence vote over Greece-Macedonia deal

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Athens, June 17 (IANS) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras survived a no-confidence vote on Saturday that was presented by conservative members of Parliament to protest the deal reached with Skopje regarding the future name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

The no-confidence motion, which required a 151-vote majority, received the support of 127 out of the 280 lawmakers who were present (of a total of 300 members of Parliament), while 153 lawmakers from the governing coalition voted against it, reports Efe.

A member of the nationalist Independent Greeks party (ANEL), which is part of the governing coalition, voted for the motion and was immediately expelled from his parliamentary group.

Tsipras accused the opposition of wanting to “open Pandora’s box” and of “legitimizing” extreme nationalism with the sole purpose of seeing his government fall.

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On Tuesday, Tsipras reached a deal with his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev to end a decades-long dispute regarding the future name of the FYROM.

According to the agreement, which will be signed on Sunday although it must then win parliamentary approval in the two countries, the FYROM will be renamed the Republic of North Macedonia.

The no-confidence motion was presented by the conservative New Democracy party with the argument that the government could not sign the agreement with Skopje without Parliament’s approval.

The head of New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, criticized Tsipras for not having sought out a consensus with the other political parties, including with ANEL, and called on lawmakers who were against the agreement to vote for the no-confidence motion.

Tsipras responded saying Mitsotakis “is not interested in improving the international standing of our country, nor in an economic recovery, nor in restructuring the debt. The only thing he wants is this government to fall.”

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