The only real surprise in this week’s parliamentary vote on the 2018 budget was the “yes” vote cast by Theodora Megaloeconomou.

The independent MP left the Centrists’ Union party in July, charging nepotism after party leader Vasilis Leventis nominated his adoptive son, Marios Georgiadis, to the post of parliament vice-president.

Approval of the annual state budget is tantamount to a vote of confidence in the government, and that is exactly how it was perceived by Syriza.

“We are doing well, we are multiplying,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said of Megaloeconomou’s move, though Syriza denied reports that the party had been informed of her decision in advance.

Syriza holds five out of six parliamentary seats in Piraeus’ First District, but only three of the eight seats in Piraeus’ Second District, where Megaloeconomou gained election.

The grim backdrop to Megaloeconomou’s vote is that every single recent poll shows that the Centrists’ Union will fail to pass the three percent electoral threshold to make it into the next parliament, and many believe that the Piraeus MP may seek to preserve her political career by joining the ranks of Syriza.

The Centrists’ Union party’s predicament also means that other parties may seek to cherry pick MPs that have a solid chance of gaining re-election, due to their own popular base and clientele.

In that competition, it is just as important for Syriza to keep MPs from being absorbed by New Democracy as it is recruit the most successful into its own ranks.

This is all the more true because Syriza’s coalition partner, the Independent Greeks, also fails to pass the electoral threshold in every single poll.

That makes new alliances crucial in keeping hope alive that Syriza might be able to form a government after the next general election.

The newfangled, centre-left Movement for Change, which is led by Pasok President Fofi Gennimata and places third in the polls, has for now categorically ruled out the prospect of entering into a coalition with Syriza.

Aimilios Perdikaris