Greece opposition moves to oust government after winter blizzard

Greece opposition moves to oust government after winter blizzard

Greece's main opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras, has filed a motion of no confidence in the government, saying it was no longer fit for office after a winter blizzard this week.

The leftist former prime minister, cited by the censure motion, said that Kyriakos Mitsotakis administration was the worst the country has known since the collapse of military rule in 1974.

Because we have the obligation to turn rage and despair into a force of political change, my conviction is that this government has to go as soon as possible," he told MPs when he filed the motion on Thursday. It has to go before it is too late for society, the country and democracy. Thousands of motorists were stranded in their cars as a snowstorm of rare intensity swept over Greece on Monday, forcing the army to evacuate trapped drivers as public anger increased. Blackouts, some lasting 48 hours, were reported in Athens.

Mitsotakis apologised for the state's lack of preparedness, accepting mistakes and shortcomings in handling of a weather event that had been forecast days earlier.

Tsipras accused the centre-right government of mismanaging other emergencies, singling out last summer s wildfires and the coronaviruses epidemic. He said that the blizzard this week, which led to almost the entire public sector being shut down, had buried its hopes of learning from its mistakes.

Greece has one of the highest Covid 19 deaths in the EU, with more than 22,000 deaths from a population of 11 million.

Three days of parliamentary debate will be allowed by the move of Tsipras. Analysts dismissed the possibility of Mitsotakis, who controls a majority in the 300 seat parliament, losing a vote scheduled for Sunday. The motion, which has been in office since July 2019, allowed the government to outline its achievements on multiple fronts, according to the government.

Giorgos Kyrtsos, an MEP with the ruling New Democracy, believes that it is a tactical move by Tsipras at a time when he and his Syriza party are losing popularity because of a resurgence of centre-left.

Kyrtsos, who has also been a vocal critic of the government's policies, said it was clear that trust in Mitsotakis's new managerial style was starting to wane even among diehard supporters of the Harvard-trained technocrat.

He said that the perception of the government is beginning to change, and he said that it was concerned with the excessive control it had tried to exert over the media. Nobody expects it to lose the vote, but the perception that it can solve problems was lost in the snow.