PM Tsipras faces confidence vote

Athens: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to survive a vote of confidence in parliament on Friday, as he seeks to shore up support ahead of a triple election challenge that kicks off this month.
Greece will hold local elections at the same time as European Parliament polls on May 26, followed by a national vote expected in October.
Tsipras called the confidence vote — his second of the year — after the country’s right-wing opposition sought to censure one of his government’s junior ministers.
“I ask for the confidence of parliament and the Greek people for May 26 to implement the next four years of our social recovery plan,” Tsipras said Thursday before leaving for an EU summit in the Romanian city of Sibiu.
He can count on 152 votes in the 300-seat parliamentary chamber — enough to carry the motion.
After four years in power, Tsipras is trailing in the polls to the main opposition New Democracy party and is hoping to galvanise his leftist Syriza party in the run-up to the end of his term in October.
“The European and local elections are in principle considered to be secondary votes compared to the national polls,” said Thanassis Diamantopoulos, politics professor at Panteion University in Athens.
“But this time, the European elections are almost as decisive for Greece,” he said, because they were “a kind of dress rehearsal” for the national legislative vote. — AFP