Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won yet another confidence vote in parliament, the fifth since he came into power in 2015, shoring up his position ahead of local, regional and European Parliament elections on May 26.
Tsipras, 44, reaffirmed his control, securing 153 votes late Friday in Greece’s 300-seat chamber, after a stormy debate in the parliament ahead of the triple ballot and a general election that must take place by October at the latest.
The vote was triggered after opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the New Democracy party requested a censure motion against Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis, when the latter launched an attack on Twitter against Stelios Kympouropoulos, a New Democracy candidate for the European elections. Tsipras decided to turn that motion into a confidence vote for the full government in order to protect his minister.
Polakis has said that Kympouropoulos, who suffers from spinal muscular disease and is confined to a wheelchair, was able to secure a job in the public sector as a psychiatrist only because of a law to help people with disabilities.
The ruling Syriza party is lagging in all polls. Tsipras on Tuesday, just a day before the confidence vote debate began, announced a number of handouts that the government claims will help the people who suffered the most during the economic crisis.
Tsipras is betting that the measures will help reduce New Democracy’s current lead in opinion polls. If the bet pays off, some government members say the premier should consider calling national elections as soon as late June or early July.