A lottery held to replace two MPs on the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence ended up placing on the committee two MPs who support the Prespa Agreement, former Potami MP Spiros Danellis and Potami MP and VP Yorgos Mavrotas.
That means that barring any surprises the government will have a majority in favour of the Prespa Accord on the committee, which plays an advisory role, and in the upcomimg 24 January ratification vote in a plenary session of parliament.
The committee held its first meeting on the Prespa Agreement today and will deliberate again tomorrow.
The accord will be tabled for ratification on 23 January, and the ratification vote is scheduled for the evening of 24 January.
The names of the MPs in the lottery were Danellis, Mavrotas, and Grigoris Psarianos, who opposes the agreement and as a result pulled out of To Potami and became an independent.
The lottery ended feverish behind-the-scenes consultations aiming at giving the government a pro-Prespa Agreement majority. It came after To Potami ceased to be a parliamentary party because it was left with fewer than the requisite five MPs when Psarianos and MP Yorgos Amyras abandoned it over the Greece-FYROM accord.
Uproar in the opposition
Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis had initially attempted to place Danellis, who was expelled from To Potami after backing the government in the recent confidence vote, on the committee to fill a vacancy created by the dissolution of To Potami as a recognised parliamentary party. He was forced to back down and hold the lottery to choose which of the independent MPs would serve on the committee after a severe opposition backlash.
Crisis in Movement for Change
The ratification of the Prespa Accord has also rocked the centre-left Movement for Change, as the leader of the cooperating Democratic Left Party (which along with To Potami and Pasok once constituted the collaborative centre-left experiment), Thanasis Theocharopoulos, was expelled by party leader Fofi Gennimata.
Ms Gennimata’s parliamentary group is now comprised exclusively of Pasok cadres, dashing hopes in a segment of the public for the consolidation and unity of the centre-left in Greece.
With Theocharopoulos’ expulsion the Movement for Change lost one of its four MPs on the committee, leading ultimately to the lottery.
The fact that Voutsis had not yet been formally notified by the Movement for Change that Theocharopoulos was expelled when the lottery to pick two independent MPs was held led to opposition charges that the process was improper.