Free Press Journal

Greece’s ex-interior minister Nikos Voutsis elected parliament speaker


Athens:  Greece’s former interior minister Nikos Voutsis was on Sunday the new speaker of parliament.

The 64-year-old civil engineer was elected with 181 votes in the 300-member parliament with the support of the Left-wing radical SYRIZA, the junior party in the current ruling coalition, the right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, as well as opposition parties, Xinhua news agency reported. The ANEL and SYRIZA parties control 155 seats in parliament. Voutsis succeeds Zoe Konstantopoulou, who became the country’s youngest ever parliament speaker with record votes in February.

The 38-year-old former SYRIZA parliament member, who ran in the September 20 snap elections with the anti-bailout Popular Unity party that was formed after a SYRIZA party split over Greece’s third bailout programme, failed to enter parliament. Meanwhile, Voutsis has won the respect of political opponents in his previous terms as the interior minister from January to August in 2015 and as a lawmaker. He was first elected to parliament in the May 2012 elections. The Greek parliament is set to elect other leaders later on Sunday before Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will deliver the government’s policy statement on Monday.

A confidence vote on the new government will be held on Wednesday. The first SYRIZA-ANEL government formed after January’s polls had been teetering on the brink of collapse after the SYRIZA party split over the agreement on the new bailout in August, when Tsipras called the snap elections.