Government officials continue to court Vassilis Leventis, the head of the small opposition party, the Union of Centrists, a potential ally if the coalition’s slim majority is tested by the challenging reforms that lie ahead.
The focus of the Greek government’s negotiations with its lenders is expected to move quickly to the three key issues that need to be resolved in view of the upcoming first review but the coalition appears insistent that it will also pass its own legislation in the coming weeks.
Apart from being an important moment in terms of Greece aligning its civil rights with European Union norms, the passing of a bill on same-sex civil unions on Tuesday night also revealed some significant political fault lines.
The race to complete the second set of prior actions demanded by Greece’s lenders before Christmas appears to have been completed, providing the government with a much-needed injection of funds and a short break before a new round of negotiations begins.
New Democracy’s ex-interim leader Evangelos Meimarakis and former administrative reform minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis are to battle it out for the party leadership on January 10 after an inconclusive ballot on Sunday.
The government’s handling of public positions became an issue again this week as the opposition parties accused it of trying to cram its own people into the civil service.
There were no surprises for the government in Tuesday night’s vote on the multi-bill of prior actions, including the sale of a first batch of non-performing loans (NPLs), as all 153 coalition MPs supported the legislation.
The government has found itself under attack from all sides over the changes to the public sector wage grid, which are due to be voted on in Parliament on Tuesday evening.
A meeting of SYRIZA’s central committee over the weekend ended with the members rejecting the idea of broadening the governing coalition and deciding to hold the party congress in April.
Greece and its lenders have reached an agreement on the details of the 13 prior actions the government will have to pass to trigger the release of another 1 billion euros in bailout funds.