Signs of major dissent are already opening up in Greece’s relatively new government.
A big chunk central committee of Syriza, the radical left-wing party that won January’s elections, now wants a more hardline stance than the one the government is currently taking.
Members of the hardline ‘Left Platform’ within SYRIZA made plain their opposition to the loan extension deal struck with Greece’s lenders by tabling an amendment critical of the agreement during a meeting of the party’s central committee.
The amendment is critical both of the extension agreement and the list of reforms to which Greece committed to implementing that was assembled during the Eurogroup meetings.
According to the SYRIZA officials opposed to the measures, the two texts represent an ‘undesirable compromise for out country and are far away, in a different direction or even opposed to SYRIZA’s policy statements’…
What will be particularly concerning for Alexis Tsipras is that other SYRIZA members not of the Left Platform also supported the motion condemning the loan extension agreement. Specifically the amendment was defeated with 68 votes in favour, 92 against and 5 blank votes.
So Tsipras had 55.8% of the vote in his favour and 44.2% against – not a very significant margin at all, given that negotiations have barely started in Europe, and the party is not even two months into its first government. The real head-to-head over the country’s debt is yet to come.
What’s more, the country’s economy, which until recently looked like it was starting to recovery from its seven-year-long battering, is tanking again. The country’s manufacturing PMI (a major business survey) dropped to its lowest level in 16 months in February, signalling recession.
Here’s how that looks:
All in all, a pretty bad start to the week for Greece, and two awful signals in the government’s second month.