The deputies of the leading ruling party SYRIZA who voted against the government's omnibus bill on prior actions demanded by the lenders of Greece still "support the government, but disagree with memorandums and austerity measures," Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said early on Thursday morning, following the passing of the bill.
He was speaking of the 32 SYRIZA deputies who were among 64 voting it down. The legislation passed with 229 votes over a total of 299, with support by coalition partners SYRIZA and Independent Greeks (ANEL), the main opposition New Democracy, and opposition parties To Potami and PASOK. At least three cabinet members, including Lafazanis, voted against it, as did former Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, while alternate Finance minister Nadia Valavani had submitted her resignation on Monday (her letter of resignation was released on Wednesday).
"We support the government, and those of us who said 'No' support the efforts leading Greece to exit the crisis with its head held high and [with] social justice," Lafazanis said after the vote, adding that "we are deputies of this government. We support it wholeheartedly, we are the heart and soul of SYRIZA, we support the party, we support the party in the government, we support the prime minister - we do not support the memorandum."
He added that SYRIZA was united and the backbone of a government that will follow a progressive course to exit the crisis. Asked whether he would resign if Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras requested it, Lafazanis, a leading member of his cabinet, said that it is the premier's prerogative to set the cabinet's composition. Tsipras is the prime minister by the will of the people, he stressed. He also added that the government has no plans for elections, "we have an elected government that is strong and supported by all of us."
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